Healthcare honesty

From the Journal of the American Medical Association:

“If a politician declares that the United States has the best health care system in the world today, he or she looks clueless rather than patriotic or authoritative,” Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a prominent ethicist at the National Institutes of Health.

The U.S. spends $6,000 per person per year on health care, an amount that is more than 16 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and more than any other country.

Americans’ average life expectancy of 78 ranks 45th in the world, behind Bosnia and Jordan.

And the U.S. infant death rate is 6.37 per 1,000 live births, higher than that of most developed nations.

President Bush frequently has said Americans have the world’s best health care system. Democrats and Republicans alike have made the “world’s best” claim. [story]

The U.S. does not have the best health care system in the world – it has the best emergency care system in the world.

Advanced U.S. medical technology has not translated into better health statistics for its citizens; indeed, the U.S. ranks near the bottom in list after list of international comparisons.

Americans are the most dissatisfied with the quality and quantity of their health care. Of the 10 largest industrialized nations, the U.S. ranked dead last in health care satisfaction, with an approval rating of only 11 percent. [more analysis]

The World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems places France at the top; the USA at #37.