US Health Care System: High Cost, Poor Performance
Health Care

US Health Care System: High Cost, Poor Performance

Dado Ruvic

You may already know this sad fact about US health care: We spend more than any other high-income country but get worse outcomes. That shocking truth is no longer surprising, but a new report by The Commonwealth Fund think tank details some of the many ways U.S. health care underperforms that of peer countries.

The many failings of the U.S. health care system documented in the report include:

* The highest per capita spending on health care in the industrialized world ($11,912 in 2022);

* The highest health care spending as a percentage of GDP (17.8% in 2021):

* The lowest life expectancy at birth (77 years in 2020);

* The highest death rates for treatable conditions;

* The highest maternal and infant mortality;

* An obesity rate (42.8% in 2019) nearly twice the OECD average;

* The highest death rate from Covid-19 (3,253 per 1 million people);

* The only wealthy country that does not guarantee health coverage.

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