Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Disgraceful: Health Care Spending Up, Quality Down

The United States ranks last in preventable deaths among 19 other industrialized nations. This according to a report at ScienceDaily. I think that means we shouldn’t be classified as an industrial nation anymore.

Previously we were ranked 15 above countries like Portugal and Ireland. Not any more.

Despite this miserable placement, American health care spending doubled to its highest level, greater than $2 trillion, in 2006,
reports the NY Times. If you spend more, doesn’t that mean things should get better?

On the positive side, growth in health spending slowed to 5.7 percent (about double the rate of inflation). According to the NY Times report, “factors that drove up drug spending included the use of existing drugs for new purposes and the increased use of high-cost biotechnology products.”

Another positive note, deaths from preventable causes has fallen 4 percent in recent years. However, for other countries, the rate fell 16 percent, according to ScienceDaily.

Specific to health care, the U.S. is also in last place when it comes to “mortality amenable to health care.” Each year, about 109 out of 100,000 die in this country because of inadequate health care.

Move to Canada…

Last year,
Pound360 blogged on how Canada has better health care than America despite the fact that they spend half as much per capita ($7,100 for Yanks versus $2,900 for Canadians).

Oddly enough, when
NPR reported on the health care spending record, they barely mentioned how miserable our health care had become. And they waited until the very end to say it. Why?

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.