July 26, 2000

Is US Health Really the Best in the World?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Md.

JAMA. 2000;284(4):483-485. doi:10.1001/jama.284.4.483

Information concerning the deficiencies of US medical care has been accumulating. The fact that more than 40 million people have no health insurance is well known. The high cost of the health care system is considered to be a deficit, but seems to be tolerated under the assumption that better health results from more expensive care, despite evidence from a few studies indicating that as many as 20% to 30% of patients receive contraindicated care.1 In addition, with the release of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report "To Err Is Human,"2 millions of Americans learned, for the first time, that an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 among them die each year as a result of medical errors.

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