We’re Number Last!By
FactCheck.org sent out one of its regular e-mail updates this week. They examine the “37th in the world” statistic bandied about in the health reform debate. The 2000 World Health Organization report has not been updated, they note, and has its critics and limitations.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center looks at some more recent figures to put things in perspective:
Among the other stats on how the U.S. health care system and health stacks up internationally: A 2007 Commonwealth Fund report ranked the U.S. last out of six industrialized countries in health system performance, which included measures on quality, access, efficiency, equity of care and healthy lives. “Access” and “equity” measures are affected by the lack of universal health care. On life expectancy, the U.S. ranks 50th and below France, Canada, the U.K. and the European Union average, according to the CIA World Factbook. Infant mortality is also higher in the U.S. than all of those countries and more. A 2006 report on infant mortality by the nonprofit Save the Children showed the U.S. tied for next to last among industrialized countries.
America retains its #1 ranking on health care costs, spending nearly twice as much, on average, as other developed countries. But when it comes to health care, Wal-Mart Nation still pays more and gets less. And for reform opponents, that’s a record worth defending, even if it’s not something to brag about.