Health of the Healthcare System



we've all gotten checkups before but what if we gave the healthcare system itself a checkup what tests would we run what would we find out you might be surprised by some of the results when we test how healthy we are the quality of care we receive how much it costs and how accessible it is the first area to test health overall our populations health is getting better but when you compare the u.s. to other high-income countries we have shorter life expectancies higher rates of disease burden meaning lower quality of life and higher mortality rates in the leading causes of death now it's true our health is influenced by factors other than our healthcare system still some of this death and suffering could be prevented by better health care unfortunately ranked with other comparable countries the US has the highest rate of deaths that are preventable by good health care we have higher rates of applications from diabetes not to mention higher than average rates of medical lab and medication errors but health status and quality of care aren't the only measures of how well our healthcare system is performing let's examine cost we're spending a lot on things like heart conditions back pain in arthritis lung conditions and diabetes in fact for every dollar we spend in the US economy about 17 cents of that goes to health care that's a lot compared to other countries which spend closer to a dime oddly enough we don't actually receive more health care the u.s. has fewer doctor visits and shorter hospital stays than average so how are we spending so much well we pay higher prices for heart surgery childbirth mris and a lot of prescription drugs and these high costs can lead to access problems for patients every year higher shares of household budgets go to healthcare costs and this is causing one in ten people to delay or go without here what they need it and that rate is even higher for uninsured and lower-income people that's the bad news the good news is that some areas are turning around we have lower rates of death from some cancers and people are more likely to survive at least five years after being diagnosed with those cancers while neither is a perfect measure together they suggest that the u.s. is doing a good job of treating cancer meanwhile our total nationwide spending on health care has slowed to record lows it's expected to pick up again as more people get covered and the economy improves but it probably won't grow at double-digit rates like before and speaking of health insurance fewer people are uninsured in the u.s. than ever before a lot of changes have just been made to our health care system with the Affordable Care Act and only time will tell how it will affect things the diagnosis we're getting better but there are certainly ways to spend less and still get better quality care and being informed is the first step in treating what ails us

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