The United States health care system does better in some rankings than others when compared with other developed country health care systems.
Elizabeth Docteur and Robert Berenson review the U.S. system’s standings in an analysis released by the Urban Institute, Washington.
The United States has more income inequality and more severe pockets of poverty than most other developed countries.
The United States tends rank last, or close to the bottom, on indicators such as life expectancy and infant mortality, but experts say it is not always clear whether that poor performance is due to problems with the U.S. health care or health finance systems, or a result of the effects of poverty.
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One study, for example, shows that uninsured U.S. residents who had any contact with the health care system within the previous 2 years were as likely as insured residents to receive care that met professionally recommended standards of care, Docteur and Berenson write.
The United States performs relatively well in terms of whether residents have received commonly recommended diagnostic procedures, such as Pap smears and mammograms.
One study found that about 85% of U.S. adult women said they had had Pap smears within the past 2 years, and that 84% of U.S. adult women ages 50 to 64 said they had had mammograms within the past 2 years. The United States performed better according to those measures than any of the 4 other developed countries studied, Docteur and Berenson write.