As onomatopoeia said (I recently quoted him here): "Sure the Canadian system has its own problems, but if you want to know what those problems are, ask any Canadian, not an American."
The way most Americans talk about Canada's health care, you'd think everyone south of the 49th parallel had affordable, accessible, expert care. We know far too many lack the first two criteria. What about the third?
From the Washington Post, with thanks to Redsock:
Americans pay more when they get sick than people in other Western nations and get more confused, error-prone treatment, according to the largest survey to compare U.S. health care with other nations.Read the article here.
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.
Although patients in every nation sometimes run into obstacles to getting care and deficiencies when they do get treated, the United States stood out for having the highest error rates, most disorganized care and highest costs, the survey found.
"What's striking is that we are clearly a world leader in how much we spend on health care," said Cathy Schoen, senior vice president for the Commonwealth Fund, a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit foundation that commissioned the survey. "We should be expecting to be the best. Clearly, we should be doing better."
Other experts agreed, saying the results offer the most recent evidence that the quality of care in the United States is seriously eroding even as health care costs skyrocket.
"This provides confirming evidence for what more and more health policy thinkers have been saying, which is, 'The American health care system is quietly imploding, and it's about time we did something about it,' " said Lucian L. Leape of the Harvard School of Public Health.
The new survey, the eighth in an annual series of cross-national surveys conducted by Harris Interactive for the fund, is the largest to examine health care quality across several nations during the same period. The survey was aimed at evaluating care across varying types of health care systems, including the market-driven U.S. system and those that have more government controls and subsidies.
The survey, published in the journal Health Affairs, questioned 6,957 adults who had recently been hospitalized, had surgery or reported health problems between March and June of this year.