Study Reiterates That U.S. Health Quality Trails Spending Compared With Other Countries

"Despite spending more than twice as much as other developed countries, the United States still lags behind in terms of access and quality, an international survey said Wednesday," Agence France-Presse reports. The Health Affairs study, which was based on survey responses from thousands of primary care physicians, also found that people in the United States were more likely to struggle to gain access to or pay for treatment than patients in 10 other countries evaluated because of insurance restrictions and high health care costs. "The United States is the only industrialized democracy that does not ensure that all of its citizens have health care coverage, with an estimated 36 million Americans uninsured," the French news agency reports (11/5).

The Seattle Post Intelligencer's travel writer shares the views of some residents of other developed countries on their native health systems. A person from Sweden – one of the countries covered in the Health Affairs survey – says, "The health and medical services have an obligation to strengthen the situation of the patient, for example, by providing individually tailored information, freedom to choose between treatment options, and the right to a second opinion in cases of life-threatening or other particularly serious diseases or injuries. Having lived here all my life and raised my family here in Stockholm, I honestly do not see anything bad with our health care system" (Steves, 11/4).

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