HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

How Do We Compare To Ourselves in Health Care?

Posted on | March 3, 2016 | No Comments

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David Blumenthal M. D. of the Commonwealth Fund did a little comparison shopping in a JAMA article on Health Care Reform. But instead of simply comparing our system to those in Europe, he compared us to ourselves.

Here’s what he had to say:

“Given some Americans’ skepticism of foreign experience, home-grown examples may be more compelling. The Commonwealth Fund State Scorecard3 suggests that (1) if US health spending per person averaged the same nationally as among the 5 lowest-cost states (Utah, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, and Nevada), an estimated $535 billion (approximately 20%) less would have been spent on personal health services in 2014; (2) if rates of health insurance coverage averaged the same nationally as among the 5 areas with the highest rates (Massachusetts; Vermont; Hawaii; Washington, DC; and Iowa), an estimated 20 million more Americans would have been insured in 2014; and (3) if the national levels of mortality amenable to health care averaged the same as among the 5 states with the lowest rates (Minnesota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Utah, and Colorado), an estimated 77 000 fewer deaths would have occurred in 2014.

The country is large and diverse, and cross-regional comparisons may overlook limits on what any 1 place can achieve. However, such benchmarking strongly suggests that major gains in US health system performance are possible and could yield huge benefits for the American people.”

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