Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Best Health Care in the World? It Depends.

The next time a tea bagger tells you we have the best health care system in the world, share this with him:

There is a concept called "amenable mortality" -- it uses public health data to develop analysis that determine deaths that could and should have been prevented such as:
  • Adults who die from breast or colon cancer before age 75, indicating lack of timely mammograms or colon screens or care.
  • Children who die before age 14 from vaccine-preventable or easily treatable illnesses such as coughs, measles, asthma, and other respiratory problems.
  • Diabetics who die before age 50 from complications that could easily have been prevented with proper medical management.
  • People who die from infections or hypertension before age 75, a symptom of lack of preventative and appropriate care, including blood pressure control.
In the mid-1990s, the U.S. ranked 15th out of 19 industrialized countries. France, Japan and Spain were the top 3. Last year? The U.S. is dead last -- France, Japan and Australia are now the top 3.
If the U.S. could improve and reach the average of 18 other countries, much 75,000 deaths a year would be saved. If the U.S. could reach the rate of the top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths per year.
And that terrifying Canadian system? Sixth place. Read it and weep.

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