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U.S. Spending On Health Care: Pay More, Get Less

NPR's Julia Rovner blogs today on a new survey that finds, once again, that while America spends the most on health care, its overall health system, based on a number of key indicators, ranks last compared to other rich countries.

The 2010 comparison of health care systems in seven industrialized countries, by The Commonwealth Fund, puts the Netherlands at the top of the list, and the U.S. last. Rovner reports:

This year the competitors were Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The U.S. finished last.

To come up with the rankings, researchers surveyed both doctors and patients. The criteria comprised quality, access, efficiency, equity, whether people in each country lived long and productive lives, and how much each country spent per person on care. The researchers produced a spiffy interactive graphic to display the results.

But the findings were strikingly similar to those from surveys done in the previous four years. The U.S. spends more — much more — on health care and gets much less value for those dollars.

This program aired on June 23, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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