The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

U.S. rated lowest of six countries for health care

Nov 5, 2007

Patients from the U.S. rated their health care system lower than those from five other industrialized countries, according to a survey published in the journal Health Affairs.

The study included adults from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Australia, and the U.S. All of the countries except the U.S. have some form of national health care.

One out of three U.S. adults believe the U.S. health care system needs a complete overhaul, twice as many as in the other six countries.

U.S. patients were the only ones who reported serious problems paying their bills, at 19%. Almost 40% of U.S. patients skipped medications or did not see a doctor when they were sick because of the cost, a much higher rate than any of the other countries. The U.S. had the highest rate of medical mistakes of the seven nations, which is not surprising since the U.S. ranked last in doctors having access to patients’ medical records at the time.

Opponents of “socialized medicine” like to argue that national health care programs are “less efficient.” National health care programs in other countries are far from perfect. They, too, are affected by companies that make profits off of their systems, like drug and medical supply companies.

But studies like this put the lie to the claims of the defenders of health care for profit.