While many Americans believe we are in one of the top countries for health care, the truth is we are not. While the United States’ healthcare is the second-most costly in the entire world, we rank a distant 37th in quality! While it may not shock you to learn that America is not the top country where health care is concerned, the fact that we are not even in the top 10 should certainly give you reason for pause.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), France leads the world in quality health care. France is followed by Italy, Spain, and Oman, with Austria and Japan rounding-out the top 10. It must be noted that these “rankings” by the World Health Organization are actually some 10 years old now; this study was done in 2000, based on information compiled in 1997-1999. The World Health Organization no longer produces such studies due to the work involved, though it releases a new world health report every year.
Just to put things in perspective, the data, which the World Health Organization used to compile this ranking order, was most likely formatted on computers running Windows 98 – maybe even Windows 95! MP3 players were still relatively new and the entertainment industries were in an uproar over an upstart site called Napster. Bill Clinton was still in office as President. In many ways, 1998-2000 seems longer than 10 years ago.
In the last nine years, technology has advanced greatly, both in and outside of the medical field. As we all know, the United States is unquestionably a leader in technology. However, it does not necessarily follow that, because we are a world leader in technology, we are also a leader in health care – just as it does not follow that because we spend more on health care than almost any other country, we are a leader in the quality of that care. These statistics can be confusing, as the amount of money spent also reflects the fact that medical care in the United States is the most expensive in the world. Still, WHO found that access to healthcare in the United States has actually declined in the intervening years, meaning that, if anything, our ranking has probably slipped!
But it isn’t all doom and gloom: worldwide, health care has improved and improved the lives of millions. Fewer children (ages five and under) are dying, and Malaria rates have gone down. More people today have access to clean drinking water, which helps cut-down on disease and parasitic infestation, as well. All told, the worldwide health care outlook is very good, and much of this has to do with technological advancements made in the last decade.
The top five countries for health care are (in order) France, Italy, San Marino, Andorra, and Malta. The United States is a distant 37th, despite the fact that it spends more than any other country (save one) on health care. While technological advancements have continued at a staggering rate and improved health care globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that access to medical care has actually declined in America since this report was made! Like all statistics, the results can be misleading without further information, and the information presented in this article is actually some 10 years old now, however it is the only information available to us, as WHO quit ranking countries for their health care due to the amount of resources it requires.