US has highest suicide rate, avoidable deaths of all high-income countries, report says

Though the U.S. spends more on healthcare as a share of the economy, it has the highest suicide rate and highest number of avoidable deaths among high-income countries, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.

The Commonwealth Fund uses health data health data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to compare the U.S. healthcare system's spending, outcomes, risk factors and prevention, utilization, and quality to 10 other high-income countries. The other countries are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Six findings:

1. In 2018, the U.S. spent 16.9 percent of gross domestic product on healthcare, nearly twice as much as the average country that is part of the OECD, but has the lowest life expectancy and highest suicide rates. 

2. Suicide accounts for 13.9 deaths per 100,000 population in the U.S, with France coming in a close second.

3. The U.S. also has among the highest number of hospitalizations from preventable causes and the highest rate of avoidable deaths, with 112 deaths for per 100,000 population.

4. The obesity rate is two times higher in the U.S. than the OECD country average.

5. The U.S. performs well with regard to some preventive health measures, with one of the highest breast cancer screening rates among women, ages 50 to 69, and the second-highest rate of flu vaccinations among people age 65 years and older.

6. America has low physician visit rates compared to its peers, with a rate of four visits per capita per year. This is half the visit rate of Germany and the Netherlands, but on par with rates in New Zealand, Switzerland and Norway.

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