US Chronic Disease Care Is 'Abysmal'

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund that found U.S. residents with chronic diseases are more likely to forgo medical care because of high costs and experience more medical errors than residents of other industrial nations "is the latest telling evidence that the dysfunctional American health care system badly needs reform," a New York Times editorial states.

The study's findings "belie the notion held by many American politicians that health care in this country is the best in the world," the Times states, adding, "That may be true at a handful of pre-eminent medical centers, but it is hardly true for the care provided to a huge portion of the population."

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According to the editorial, the care U.S. patients received -- "or more often did not receive -- ought to be a cause for shame." While the U.S. "did comparatively well in some areas, ... the nation's overall performance was abysmal," the editorial continues.

"By contrast, Dutch patients reported far more favorable experiences with their health care system, largely because the Netherlands provides universal coverage (through individual mandates and private health insurance), a strong primary care system and widespread use of electronic medical records," the editorial states, concluding, "It should be possible to achieve the same level of performance here" (New York Times, 11/18).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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