I’m going to tell you something — we have fabulous health care in America, just so you know. I think it’s very important — before people start griping about the health care system here — and of course there’s always grounds for complaint — just to compare it with other systems around the world.
Bush may not be aware, but U.S. health care has already been systematically compared to other systems around the world. In many cases, the results are not good for Americans.
In 2002, the U.S. spent more on health care per person than other industrial countries like Britain, Canada, France, and Germany. But unlike those countries, which have universal health care systems, there are roughly 47 million Americans who lack health coverage.
In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) did a comparative assessment of the health systems of 191 countries. The WHO found that in terms of the five measured performance indicators, the U.S. ranked 37th:
The U. S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance, the report finds. The United Kingdom, which spends just six percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health services, ranks 18th . Several small countries — San Marino, Andorra, Malta and Singapore are rated close behind second- placed Italy.
In his recent documentary, SiCKO, Michael Moore illustrated clearly how U.S. health care ranked far behind much of the industrial world. Watch a clip:
As Paul Krugman has noted, American health care “at its best is the best in the world,” but for millions of Americans “it’s all too easy to fall through the cracks in our system.”