April 15, 2010

Survey: US Healthcare Lags Behind Other Countries

In a 22-nation survey released on Thursday, results show that people living in countries with government-run healthcare systems like Sweden and Canada are more confident that their families can get decent, affordable healthcare, than Americans are.

An online poll conducted by Ipsos/Reuters found that 70 percent of Canadians and almost 75 percent of Swedes felt it was fairly easy to receive treatment if a relative became ill. In the same poll, only 51 percent of Americans felt they would get care easily.

The three month poll (November 2009 - January 2010) was carried out while the US Congress was fighting over changes to expand health insurance, and concluded that Americans were divided over their access to healthcare. The health reform bill became law last month.

The United States spends more on healthcare than any other nation -- which accounts for nearly 16 percent of the economy -- but still has higher rates of child mortality and diabetes than most other rich countries.

The poll, which surveyed 23,000 people worldwide, showed that not all countries with government-run healthcare reported good satisfaction. In Britain, which has a national healthcare plan, only 55 percent of the people feel it would be easy to get treatment. In Germany only 45 percent of the people were convinced they had easy access.

Only 15 percent of Japanese citizens felt they could receive affordable, quality care. Japan boasts a high life expectancy but health costs for the elderly, which makes up 40 percent of the population, is a growing problem.

Hungary, Russia and South Korea all showed about a 30 percent confidence rate in healthcare. Chinese citizens showed a 34-percent confidence rate and India, the fifth best country in healthcare, 64 percent of people felt they could get good, affordable healthcare.

Women, adults under the age of 55 and less-educated persons from all countries reported lower satisfaction with healthcare access, the survey found.

The poll was conducted in 22 countries and respondents to the survey were recruited and screened. The results were then balanced to reflect the country's demographics, according to global survey-based market research company Ipsos. The margin of error is 3.1 percent +/-.

The countries included in the survey were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.


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