Friday, November 04, 2005

Health policy: Americans pay more, get less

Hey, another study says Americans spend more on health care and get less. Yawn. Throw it on the pile, I guess.

Clearly, it's going to take something more than studies to get some kind of traction on health care reform. Note that we still come out ahead in one important measure: getting access to specialists. Maybe that's enough to make us feel like we're getting better care than we are: even if we're not getting the best care for our money, at least we're getting attention. Maybe we value that more.
The survey of nearly 7,000 sick adults in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and Germany found Americans were the most likely to pay at least $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses. More than half went without needed care because of cost and more than one-third endured mistakes and disorganized care when they did get treated.
Americans had the easiest access to specialists, but they experienced the most problems getting care after hours, and Americans and Canadians were the most likely to report problems seeing a doctor the same day they sought one.

Americans were also much more likely to report forgoing needed treatment because of cost, with about half saying they had decided not to fill a prescription, to see a doctor when they were sick or opted against getting recommended follow-up tests. About 38 percent of patients in New Zealand reported going without care; the numbers were 34 percent in Australia, 28 percent in Germany, 26 percent in Canada and 13 percent in Britain.

Link to article in Washington Post.

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