The most that can be said for the U.S. system is that it is one of the better systems globally for the rich and has lots of high tech features. However, in international rankings it is not even in the top ten let alone best. Here is the 2000 WHO rankings of almost two hundred countries:
"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 GDP on health services, ranks 18 th.."
Where the U.S. is number one is in percentage of GDP it spends on health care. The U.S. system is wildly inefficient.
Republicans and Democrats diverge on health care
Thu Mar 20, 12:25 AM ET
Americans' views of the U.S. health care system differ
widely based on political party preferences, with
Republicans far more likely than Democrats to call it
the world's best, a poll released on Thursday showed.
People taking part in the survey by the Harvard
University School of Public Health and Harris
Interactive were asked if they thought the United
States has the best health care system or if other
countries had better ones.
Overall, 45 percent said the U.S. system is best, 39
percent disagreed and 15 percent said they did not
know or declined to answer.
Clear differences appeared when the respondents were
sorted by political party identification. Among
Republicans, 68 percent said the United States is the
best, compared to 32 percent of Democrats and 40
percent of independents.
The survey was conducted from March 5 to 8, with a
nationally representative sample of 1,026 people. It
has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
"We didn't think the split would be as large as it was
between Republicans and Democrats," Robert Blendon, a
Harvard professor of health policy and political
analysis who helped design the survey, said in a
"Just based on your party perspective, your view about
whether or not there's something better out there, as
a system, is so different," Blendon said.
Runaway U.S. health-care spending and lack of medical
coverage for millions of Americans have emerged as
issues in this year's U.S. presidential campaign. An
estimated 47 million people in a country of about 300
million have no health insurance, either private or
The non-profit Commonwealth Fund said in November
Americans spend double what people in other
industrialized nations do on health care, but have
more trouble seeing doctors, face more medical errors
and are more apt to go without treatment.
Those findings came in a poll of 12,000 people in the
United States, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands,
Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
British researchers said in January that the United
States rated worst in rankings focusing on preventable
deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading
In the Harvard survey, 26 percent of respondents said
the United States is better than other countries in
providing affordable health care access to everyone,
and 21 percent felt the United States was better in
controlling health care costs.
Also, 55 percent of respondents said U.S. patients
receive better quality of care than those in other
nations and 53 percent said waiting times were shorter
for U.S. patients to see specialists or be admitted to
the hospital than elsewhere.
(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Maggie Fox and