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Second national scorecard on US health care system finds no overall improvement
Date:7/16/2008

fects, an increase in hospitalization of nursing home patients, and deterioration in patient-centered, timely care.

Improvement is Possible

The scorecard trends present a compelling case for change in the way U.S. health care is financed, organized, and delivered. If all of the U.S. were brought up to the benchmark levels, there would be real benefits in terms of health, patient experiences, and savings. For example:

  • Up to 100,000 fewer people would die from causes that could have been prevented by good health care if the U.S. achieved the lower mortality rates of leading countries.

  • Thirty-seven million more adults would have an accessible primary care provider, and 70 million more adults would receive all recommended preventive care.

  • The Medicare program could potentially save at least $12 billion a year by reducing hospital readmissions or by reducing hospitalizations for preventable conditions.

  • Reducing health insurance administrative costs to the average level of countries with mixed private/public insurance systems (Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland) would free up $51 billion annually, or more than half the cost of providing comprehensive coverage to all the uninsured in the U.S. Reaching the lowest rate benchmarks (2 to 3 percent of national health expenditures spent on administrative costs) set by the lowest countriesFinland, Japan, and Australiacould save an estimated $102 billion per year.

"It's apparent that, overall, the health care system is performing unevenly and well below its potential," said James J. Mongan, M.D., Chairman of the 19-member Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System and CEO of Partners HealthCare in Boston. "While there are pockets of improvement and excellence, it is clear that we need strong leadership and concerted public and private efforts to achieve and raise standards of performance nationwide and ensure th
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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