CHARTS: The US Has Some Of The Worst Health Statistics In The Developed World

In their efforts to block health care reform, politicians often claim that the U.S. has the best health care system in the world.  As such, we shouldn’t tinker with it.

The evidence, however, points to a different conclusion: the U.S. health care system provides less quality and less value compared to its international counterparts. 

The New York Times recently published an article that discusses the results of a comprehensive study convened by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council on mortality rates and other measures of health care.

The expert panel concluded that there is a ‘U.S. health disadvantage,’ according to Sabrina Tavernise at the Times:

The panel called the pattern of higher rates of disease and shorter lives “the U.S. health disadvantage,” and said it was responsible for dragging the country to the bottom in terms of life expectancy over the past 30 years. American men ranked last in life expectancy among the 17 countries in the study, and American women ranked second to last.

Aaron Carroll of The Incidental Economist points us to the report, U.S. Health in International Perspectives: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, which has plenty of charts that confirm these findings.  For instance, when it comes to the health of a pregnant mother or her soon-to-be/newborn child, the U.S. has the highest mortality rate among all developed nations:

Perinatal diseases

Photo: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine

Pregnancy Health

Photo: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine


















The U.S. is also home to the third-worst mortality rate by nutritional deficiencies, the second-worst rate of death through respiratory disease, and the highest absolute age-adjusted mortality rate amongst all developed nations:

Death by All Causes

Photo: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine

So, what does the U.S. pay for this degree of service?

Short answer: more than any other country on the planet, as indicated by these charts:

Health Care Exp Per Cap

Photo: World Health organisation, Business Insider

Health Care % of GDP

Photo: World Health organisation, Business Insider

Nearly all these advanced countries, which provide better health care outcomes at a lower per capita cost, have a system of universal health care in place.

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