Well, I don’t know where those people get their facts, but they won’t find them in any US medical school or school of public health where real data rules, not jingoism.
I learned this while covering stories at Harvard School of Public Health. Here are the facts:
FACT: The US ranks 37th in overall quality of health care, in a world ranking published by the World Health Organization in 2000.
WHO spent years collecting and compiling data, taking into consideration expenditure, efficiency, life expectancy and other factors.
We’re behind Morocco in quality but ahead of Barbados! See for yourself.
*The World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems
3 San Marino
18 United Kingdom
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
36 Costa Rica
37 United States of America
41 New Zealand
48 Czech Republic
I cut it off at 50, by the way, to spare you the pain.
Dollar for dollar, we're paying more and getting less than most of our friends and relatives in Europe, some areas of the Middle East and parts of Asia. Why is that?
Those who think we don't need to improve quality -- just reduce expenses -- should think again. Look at our competition. Consider the countries -- such as Costa Rica and Saudi Arabia -- that, according to WHO, are doing a better job of meeting the health care needs of their citizens.
Of course, this is little to do with the quality and quantity of our research, just delivery. Nor does it take into consideration the existence of something like the National Institutes of Health, or the National Library of Medicine, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (all government funded and run).
Here's a 2007 New York Times story that examines the significance of the WHO data.
*Sources: WHO World Health Report 2000
See also Spreadsheet Details (731kb)
See also: Healthy Life Expectancy By Country
See also: Health Performance Rank By Country
See also: Total Health Expenditure as % of GDP (2000-2005)
See also: Main Country Ranks Page