So Exactly Where Does U.S. Healthcare Rank?
We hear it all the time. It’s a nonstop drumbeat. Healthcare in the United States is too expensive and too low in quality compared to other countries. Critics are constantly citing the World Health Organization which, in its most recent rankings, said the U.S. ranks 37th in overall healthcare performance.
In reality, though, what kind of healthcare do Americans receive? And would we really trade what we have for what is offered to citizens in other nations.
Dr. Mark Constantian, a reconstructive surgeon in New Hampshire, investigated that question and shared his conclusions in the Wall Street Journal last week. Dr. Constantian found that, when it comes to the factors that patients and healthcare consumers care about the most, healthcare in this country stacks up pretty well.
He notes the following facts:
· Cardiac deaths in the U.S. have fallen by two-thirds in the past 50 years.
· Eight of the top 10 medical advances in the last 20 years were developed or had roots in this country.
· U.S. patients have the shortest waiting time in the world for nonemergency surgery.
· Eight of the 10 top-selling drugs were developed by U.S. companies.
· The U.S. has some of the highest breast, colon, and prostate cancer survival rates in the world.
Most notably, the WHO ranks the U.S. number one in the world in “responsiveness to the needs and choices of the individual patient.”
And, as Dr. Constantian notes in his op-ed, “isn’t responsiveness what healthcare is all about?”