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Is US Health Really the Best in the World?

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COMMENTARY. Is US Health Really the Best in the world ? Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH measures used. Common explanations for this poor perfor- mance fail to implicate the Health system. The perception I. NFORMATION CONCERNING THE DEFICIENCIES OF US MEDI- is that the American public behaves badly by smoking, cal care has been accumulating. The fact that more than drinking, and perpetrating violence. The data show other- 40 million people have no Health insurance is well wise, at least relatively. The proportion of females who smoke known. The high cost of the Health care system is con- ranges from 14% in Japan to 41% in Denmark; in the United sidered to be a deficit, but seems to be tolerated under the States, it is 24% (fifth best). For males, the range is from assumption that better Health results from more expensive 26% in Sweden to 61% in Japan; it is 28% in the United States care, despite evidence from a few studies indicating that as (third best). many as 20% to 30% of patients receive contraindicated The data for alcoholic beverage consumption are similar: In addition, with the release of the Institute of Medicine the United States ranks fifth best.

COMMENTARY Is US Health Really the Best in the World? Barbara Starfield, MD, MPHI NFORMATION CONCERNING THE DEFICIENCIES OF USMEDI- calcarehasbeenaccumulating.Thefactthatmorethan

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