U.S. has more deaths preventable through health care than European nations

The United States has more deaths that are avoidable through access to health care than Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, according to a study in Health Affairs.

Key findings from the study, which was supported by the Commonwealth Fund:

  • Between 1999 and 2007, rates of potentially preventable deaths among men under age 75 fell by 18.5 percent in the U.S. During the same time period, the rate declined by 37 percent in the U.K., by 28 percent in France, and by 24 percent in Germany (2006).
  • For women, the rates fell by 17.5 percent in the U.S., 32 percent in the U.K., and 23 percent in both France and Germany.
  • In 2007, amenable mortality was highest in the U.S., with rates almost twice those seen in France, which had the lowest level of the four countries studied.
  • The pace of improvement was slower in the U.S. than in the other countries for the two age groups examined—individuals under age 65 and those ages 65 to 74. However, the lag was most pronounced among American men and women younger than 65. These individuals are more likely to be uninsured than are Medicare-eligible Americans age 65 and older. They are also more likely to be uninsured than their European counterparts, who have access to universal coverage.

The authors note that the findings in the study highlight the importance of health reform in the United States to improve coverage and access to health care.

(Source: The Commonwealth Fund, http://www.commonwealthfund.org/, August 29, 2012)