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U.S. ranks last of industrialized nations on preventable deaths

The United States ranks last of industrialized nations when it comes to deaths that could have been prevented with access to effective health care, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund. 

The report examined potentially preventable deaths in patients under age 75 in sixteen industrialized nations between 1997–1998 and 2006–2007.

Key findings from the report:

  • France, Australia and Italy scored best in preventable deaths, all having 60 or fewer preventable deaths for every 100,000 people in 2006 – 2007.
  • The United States fared worse, with 96 preventable deaths for every 100,000 people, preceded by the United Kingdom, with 83 preventable deaths per 100,000 people in 2006 – 2007.
  • Between 1997–1998 and 2006–2007, levels of preventable death fell by 30 percent or more in 10 of the 16 countries; but rate in the U.S. fell by only 20.5 percent, the lowest level of decline.  

The authors conclude that the United States’ poor performance could be due to the high cost of care and lack of universal coverage. 

(Source:  The Commonwealth Fund, September 23, 2011)

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