Health Care for Older Americans Falls Short in Survey

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A new survey of older adults in 11 industrialized countries finds that the Americans “are sicker than their counterparts abroad” and more likely to report problems paying their medical bills and accessing needed health care.

Results of the Commonwealth Fund survey were reported in Health Affairs and by the organization itself. The other countries surveyed: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Respondents were 65 and older.

“The United States stands out for having the highest rate of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease . . .” the Commonwealth Fund said. “Despite having Medicare coverage, U.S. adults age 65 or older were the most likely to report that cost posed a barrier to care.”

The other countries had some problems as well. Except in France, for example, at least a fifth of the respondents reported receiving uncoordinated care.

The U.S. did better in some areas such as discussing health-promoting behaviors with a clinician and planning end-of-life care. But the survey is a reminder of the importance of continuing efforts to improve both the quality and affordability of the U.S. health care system.

External links:
International Survey on Health Care for People Age 65 and Older (Commonwealth Fund)

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