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Medical News & Perspectives
December 24 2008

US Health Care System Earns Poor Marks

JAMA. 2008;300(24):2843-2844. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.851

Chronically ill adults in the United States say they pay higher out-of-pocket costs, face more problems with coordination of care, and are subject to more medical errors than patients in 7 other developed countries, according to new research.

The study, which was sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, a private, New York, NY–based foundation that supports health care research, is based on telephone interviews conducted in 2008 with 7500 adults living in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States. The respondents all had at least 1 of 7 chronic health conditions—hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, lung problems, cancer, or depression—and all had had a recent hospitalization, major surgery, or serious episode of their illness (Schoen C et al. Health Aff [Millwood]. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.1.w1 [published online ahead of print November 13, 2008]).