How US care for women of reproductive age stacks up against other wealthy countries

The U.S. lags behind other high-income countries when it comes to serving women ages 18 to 49 — whether for maternal care, primary care or mental healthcare, according to an analysis released April 5 by the Commonwealth Fund.  

For the analysis, researchers examined performance of the healthcare systems in 11 high-income countries using data from the Commonwealth Fund's 2020 International Health Policy Survey and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Researchers specifically analyzed performance in healthcare access and outcomes. More information about the methodology is available here.

Four findings from the analysis:

1. Among the 11 countries studied, women of reproductive age in the U.S. are most likely to die from avoidable causes, including pregnancy-related complications.

2. Compared to the other 10 countries, women ages 18 to 49 in the U.S. are also more likely to report one or more medical bill problems.

3. Women of reproductive age in Canada, Australia and the U.S. were most likely to report having a mental healthcare need, compared to their counterparts in other countries.

4. Women ages 18 to 49 in the U.S., Sweden, Canada and Australia are least likely to report having a regular physician or place of care.

The Commonwealth Fund provided several options for U.S. policymakers to consider, including ensuring women have access to affordable healthcare, as well as growing and diversifying the healthcare workforce.

Read the full study here.  

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