Even though we know that we need to fix the health care system in the United States, I think we still like to think that we are ahead of much of the world. But a new survey finds that's not exactly the case.
Chronically ill patients were interviewed in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and New Zealand. The survey found that United States patients skip more care and spend more out-of-pocket money than those in any of the other countries -- even though the U.S. spends more on health care than any other country.
The results were published online Nov. 13 in the Commonwealth Fund journal Health Affairs. Researchers interviewed 7,500 people who had at least one chronic condition and who recently had a serious illness, been hospitalized or had surgery.
The survey found striking differences across the eight countries, said Cathy Schoen, the Commonwealth Fund's senior vice president. "Overall, the United States stands out for chronically ill adults reporting the most negative experiences. They are far more likely to go without care because of cost, including not filling prescriptions, [or] following up on recommended care," she said.
Part of what the report said:
"More than 50 percent of U.S. patients went without care because of cost. Dutch and British patients rarely go without care due to costs. One third of U.S. patients encountered poorly coordinated care -- significantly higher than all other countries. One third of U.S. patients reported medical errors, double that of the Netherlands. U.S. patients have higher out-of-pocket costs than other countries. Forty-one percent of American patients spent more than $1,000 a year on out-of-pocket expenses. Such costs were much rarer in Britain, France and the Netherlands. U.S. and Canadian patients reported difficulty getting same-day access to doctors when sick. More than half of Dutch, New Zealand and nearly half of British patients get same-day appointments. Fifty-nine percent of U.S. patients were seen in emergency rooms. Many U.S. patients reported difficulty getting "after-hours" care. Dutch patients said it was easy to get such care. U.S., Dutch and German patients get to see specialists quickly. British, Canadian and New Zealand patients have longer waits for specialists."
Here's a link to the HealthDay story:
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