In New Survey of 11 Countries, U.S. Adults Still Struggle with Access to and Affordability of Health Care

By Robin Osborn, David Squires, Michelle M. Doty, Dana O. Sarnak, Eric C. Schneider, M.D.
The Commonwealth Fund, November 16, 2016

The Issue

Asking people directly about their experiences with the health care system can reveal valuable information about how well a country is meeting the needs of its population. A new Commonwealth Fund study in Health Affairs examines patients’ experiences based on responses to a 2016 survey of adults in 11 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Big Picture

Although the U.S. has made significant progress in expanding insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, it remains an outlier among high-income countries in ensuring access to health care. The authors point out that all of the other countries surveyed provide universal insurance coverage, and many provide better cost protection and a more extensive safety net.

The Bottom Line

Despite progress since passage of the Affordable Care Act, adults in the United States remain more likely to go without needed health care because of costs compared to adults in other high-income countries.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/in-the-literature/2016/nov/2016-international-health-policy-survey-of-adults

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now essentially fully implemented. So how are we doing? According to a new Commonwealth Fund study, “adults in the United States remain more likely to go without needed health care because of costs compared to adults in other high-income countries.” Although ACA brought some improvements, they are grossly inadequate by international standards.

Congress is about to reopen the health care reform process. Mere tweaking cannot repair our highly dysfunctional health care financing infrastructure. We need to make sure that a model that does work – a single payer national health program – is front and center in their negotiations.