U.S. healthcare system ranks last in study

The United States ranks last in a new report that considers the efficiency and quality of healthcare systems in 11 industrialized nations.

The analysis by the Commonwealth Fund found that despite spending more money, the U.S. healthcare system was the most inefficient and Americans have the hardest time affording care they need.

It said the U.S. spent $8,508 per person on healthcare in 2011. By comparison, the United Kingdom spent only $3,406 per person and ranked higher than the U.S. in providing safe and quality care.

Other countries that were ranked in the study include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

The study was done before most of the new healthcare law was put into place.

“It is disappointing, but not surprising, that despite our significant investment in health care, the U.S. has continued to lag behind other countries,” said Karen Davis, lead author and health researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “With enactment of the Affordable Care Act, however, we have entered a new era in American health care."

The study included surveys between 2011 and 2013 asking patients and physicians about their healthcare experiences. It also included a 2011 analysis of healthcare outcomes in the 11 industrialized countries.

The U.S. ranked last on measures such as infant mortality and preventable deaths. It also ranked last on access to care based on affordability.

“The most notable way the U.S. differs from other industrialized countries is the absence of universal health insurance coverage,” says the report. “Other nations ensure the accessibility of care through universal health systems and through better ties between patients and the physician practices that serve as their medical homes.”

However, authors of the study expect the U.S. standing to improve because of ObamaCare. They say as the new healthcare law takes full effect more people will have access to healthcare, especially the poor.