I hope the next time a reporter or a progressive hears someone say, “We have the greatest healthcare system in the world,” they point to this.

The findings, published in the journal Health Affairs, looked at 11 developed countries and compared the experience of patients — from costs, to paying medical bills, to dealing with insurance companies.

The U.S. came out at the bottom on almost every count, sometimes with shocking gaps between it and the next country.

Here’s a rundown of the various ways the U.S. is falling behind Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom:

  • Only 58 percent of U.S. adults said they thought they could afford the care they needed
  • A solid 20 percent of U.S. adults had major problems paying medical bills, compared to 9 percent in France, with the next highest figure
  • 31 percent of U.S. adults reported getting caught in insurance snafoos: either dealing with mountains of paperwork, having their insurer deny a claim, or receiving a lesser payment than expected
  • Americans are coughing up more from their own wallets: one-third of U.S. adults paid $1,000 or more out-of-pocket in the past year for medical bills, much higher than all of the other countries.
  • Among the worst-off are uninsured Americans: nearly half of them went without needed care and one third had problem with bills

The complete survey is here.

Posted in: Healthcare.
Last Modified: November 18, 2010