Paying More – Getting Less

The old saying “you get what you pay for” may not apply when it comes to health care in the United States. According to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund, Americans pay more for medical care than people in other wealthy Western countries but have little to show for it.

From NBC News:

Americans are still struggling with their health, and rank last against citizens of 10 other wealthy countries when it comes to emotional distress, struggling to pay for care and skipping doctor visits, a new report finds.

“The United States trailed other countries in making health care affordable and ranked poorly on providing timely access to medical care (except specialist care),” the report reads. “Problems were often particularly acute for low-income adults.”

Yet Americans now spend $9,523 per person a year on medical expenses — by far the most among developed countries.

The other countries involved in the study were Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The U.S. finished dead last underperforming in metric after metric. According to Modern Healthcare:

  • 28% of American adults said they have two or more chronic illnesses, such as a joint pain or arthritis, asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension or high blood pressure. And 26% said they experienced emotional distress they couldn’t cope with alone.
  • Though Americans are in poorer health, they’re also more likely than others to go without recommended healthcare, fail to fill a prescription or avoid the doctor when sick because of costs.
  • About a third of U.S. adults said they skipped needed healthcare because they couldn’t afford it, down from 37% in the last 2013 survey. While that’s an improvement, adults in the U.S. still report greater financial barriers to accessing care than the 10 other countries surveyed.

The infographic below comes from the Commonwealth Fund and it highlights the number of Americans who are more likely than those in the 10 other countries to go without needed health care because of costs.

comminwealth quoted Dr. David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund, as saying – “The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country, but what we get for these significant resources falls short in terms of access to care, affordability and coordination.”

Share your thoughts on the survey and how you believe we can start to turn these numbers around. Why do you think we’re not getting what we pay for? Working together to find innovative solutions to the health problems we face can help to drive change. And that change can take us another step closer to our long-term goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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