US healthcare worst in the developed world, study finds

A study by the Commonwealth Fund investigating healthcare in the world's 11 most developed nations ranks the U.S. as the worst of the group.

Not only does the U.S. spend the most on healthcare, with it accounting for 16.6 percent of the nation's GDP compared to less than 10 percent for every other nation — it also has the worst health outcomes of any nation studied. After decades of rising, life expectancy in the U.S. has actually dropped in recent years.

Administrative inefficiency is also greater in the U.S. than any other nation, with both clinicians and patients reporting that they spend too much time dealing with billing and insurance issues. Though many countries studied have universal healthcare, the Netherlands also relies on private insurers and has cut down on inefficiency by standardizing benefits packages that create predicable copayments and deductibles.

The study concludes that "different approaches to organizing and financing the delivery system" are necessary, but that improvements such as an emphasis on value-based care are steps in the right direction.

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