Tuesday, January 8, 2008

U.S. last in preventable death rate

The following story from UPI says all that needs be said about the sorry state of US healthcare. Imagine the "richest country " with the "best healthcare system in the world" (Rudy Giuliani - Jan. 5, 2008 New Hampshire Republican Debate) has the worst record amongst industrialized nations in preventing unnecessary deaths. Rudy and others of his ilk are always touting the fact that people come from all over the world to take advantage of our advanced healthcare services. Well, duh. If you have the money and resources. If not die baby die. And what about all the stories I hear on NPR about US citizens going to India for operations they can't afford stateside? And I forgot to ask - where are the pro-life activists when real live people's lives are on the line?

BETHESDA, Md., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The United States ranks last among 19 industrialized nations when it comes to deaths that could have been prevented.

The report by The Commonwealth Fund, published in the journal Health Affairs, said 101,000 deaths per year could have been prevented by access to timely and effective healthcare. The top performers were France, Japan and Australia.

Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looked at deaths "amenable to healthcare before age 75 between 1997-98 and 2002-03."

The researchers found that while other countries saw these types of deaths decline by an average of 16 percent, the United States experienced only a 4 percent decline. "It is notable that all countries have improved substantially except the U.S.," said Nolte, lead author of the study.

Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen said the finding that other countries are reducing preventable deaths more rapidly with less money "indicates that policy, goals and efforts to improve health systems make a difference."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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