US spends most on healthcare but has worse outcomes: 6 report findings

The U.S. spends two to four times as much on healthcare as most other high-income countries, but the health outcomes lag behind, a new Commonwealth Fund study found.

"U.S. Healthcare from a Global Perspective, 2022: Accelerating Spending, Worsening Outcomes" is an ongoing report by the Commonwealth Fund that compares healthcare spending and outcomes, health status and healthcare usage in the U.S. with 12 other high-income nations and the average for all 38 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development members.

The U.S. remained the only nation within the OECD that does not offer universal health coverage despite spending nearly 18 percent of its GDP on healthcare, according to the report.

Here are five other findings:

  1. The U.S. has the lowest life expectancy at 77 years compared to the 80 years average for other wealthy nations.

  2. The U.S. has the highest rates of avoidable deaths from causes such as diabetes, hypertensive disease and certain cancers.

  3. The U.S. has the highest COVID-19 death rate among high-income countries, at 3,000 deaths in every 1 million cases between Jan. 22, 2020, and Jan. 18, 2023.

  4. Physical assault, which includes gun violence, is seven times higher in the U.S. than in other high-income countries, except New Zealand.

  5. U.S. infant and maternal deaths are more than triple the rate of most other high-income countries.

"Americans are living shorter, less healthy lives because our health system is not working as well as it could be," lead author Munira Gunja, senior researcher for the Commonwealth Fund's International Program in Health Policy and Practice Innovations, said in the report. "To catch up with other high-income countries, the administration and Congress would have to expand access to healthcare, act aggressively to control costs, and invest in health equity and social services we know can lead to a healthier population."

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