How does the quality of healthcare in the United States compare to the quality of care in other industralized nations?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Health care in the United States is the worst in the OECD according to multiple measures of outcomes including child mortality, maternal mortality, and average lifespan. This is not due to lack of technological competence and training -- specialist doctors and hospitals in the United States include many of the best in the world. Instead, it is due to the fact that despite being the richest country in the world, it remains the only developed country without universal national healthcare. It remains the only developed country in which access to medical care depends not on your needs but entirely on your ability to pay, something that most people outside the US consider a violation of a basic human right. In Canada, for example, the right to health care is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While an extremely wealthy person in the United States can obtain excellent health care, the medical treatments that can be obtained by the other 99% depend on the vagaries of for-profit insurance companies or the ability and willingness of a family to afford the price of treatments. Thus overall, the United States ranks in the middle range of non-industrialized nations and below all industrialized ones in overall health care outcomes.