In a recent report by a Commonwealth Fund, researchers conducted a study and found the United States last among 7 industrialized countries for healthcare. The study also revealed the US has the most expensive healthcare costs. The report compared the US against Australia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and The United Kingdom. The criteria was based on quality, efficiency, access to healthcare, equity, and the ability to lead long, healthy, productive lives. The report said healthcare could be improved in all the participating countries, but the US is definitely not getting a good value for the amount of money spent on healthcare.
The Commonwealth Fund researchers suggest that the low marks show how desperately the US needs some type of healthcare reform. 54% of adults in the US that live with a chronic condition reported problems having a recommended test, treatment or follow-up care because they couldn’t afford it.
Some recent medical problems that I had point to exactly some of the findings that Commonwealth Fund study found. After my annual checkup, which in my opinion was very vague compared to other annual checkups I have had in the past, I experienced a number of problems with my medicare advantage insurance plan. My doctor probably spent a total of 5 minutes with me in what was suppose to be my annual checkup. She poked around a little bit, asked if I had any problems, which I hadn’t had at the time, and ordered a cholesterol screening because of high cholesterol problems I have had over the years and that was it. I don’t really blame my doctor for not being more through because I think her hands are tied too in regards to insurance companies and their policies.
Two weeks later I got a bill from the medical clinic because my medicare advantage plan refused to pay for my cholesterol screening. They stated it wasn’t a necessary test for my physical. I don’t know why the test wouldn’t be necessary when I’m taking medication for high cholesterol and have been for years. Needless to say I appealed their decision and I’m still waiting for the results of that appeal.
To make matters worse I got quite ill a couple of weeks later and had to go to the doctor. My regular doctor wasn’t available so I used the doctor that was on call. She was very good. She ordered a bunch of tests and did blood work that revealed my blood platelets were very low. Had I had a check of my hemoglobin when I had my annual physical, that probably would have shown up and I wouldn’t have experienced these problems just a few weeks later. (It’s possibly, nothing would have shown up during my annual checkup and this is something that just came up later, but it is in my medical records that I have a tendency to be anemic and I have had this hemoglobin check in previous physicals). I haven’t gotten the bill for these latest medical problems I had. I can just imagine what the insurance will refuse to pay on this one.
In my opinion the Commonwealth Fund research shows exactly why we received that low ranking. Our medical premiums are constantly going up and the medical care we receive is definitely heading downward. Yes, we do need some type of healthcare reform in this country. I hope we get it sooner, then later.