Thursday, August 27, 2009

World’s Best Health Care

The American health care system puts patients at greater risk of harm from medical or surgical errors than patients elsewhere and ranks behind the top countries in extending the lives of the elderly. It has a mixed record on preventive care — above average in vaccinating seniors against the flu, below average in vaccinating children — and a mixed record of caring for chronic and acute conditions.

Contrary to what one hears in political discourse, the bulk of the research comparing the United States and Canada found a higher quality of care in our northern neighbor. Canadians, for example, have longer survival times while undergoing renal dialysis and after a kidney transplant. Of 10 studies comparing the care given to a broad range of patients suffering from a diverse group of ailments, five favored Canada, three yielded mixed results, and only two favored the United States.

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