Where Is Your Country On This Global Ranking Of Nations' Healthcare Systems?

The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who are known - among other things - for their huge investments in healthcare research. Mr. Lightman1975/Shutterstock

Robin Andrews 14 Jun 2018, 17:31

The bottom 10 are:

186 – Burundi

187 – Ivory Coast

188 – South Sudan

189 – Kiribati

190 – Guinea

191 – Afghanistan

192 – Chad

193 – Guinea-Bissau

194 – Somalia

195 – Central African Republic

There is no single factor that explains these trends. Access and deployment of healthcare depend on population numbers and distribution, government policy, trust (or lack thereof) in the healthcare system (including vaccines), the presence of socio-economic inequality, and more. Quality healthcare depends on how it’s managed, integrated into the country’s infrastructure, and funded.

Seven countries were assessed on subnational levels too, and in all cases, it inferred that healthcare is not given out equally. The authors found that in China, for example, Beijing had a HAQ score of 91.5, but in Tibet, it’s 48. In Japan, by way of contrast, the smallest subnational disparity was observed, coming in at a difference of 4.8 from the highest HAQ to the lowest.

HAQs within nations. GBD/The Lancet

Then, there’s the US. It has a disparity value more than twice that of Japan’s, which the team tentatively linked to challenges of getting healthcare to everyone that needs it, and – most importantly – economic and healthcare inequality in poorer regions.

Whatever you think of the politics, it’s impossible to argue that healthcare in the US is weirdly expensive compared to other developed nations for individual Americans; significantly, this means those with larger wallets have access to better healthcare. The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) was a way of leveling the playing field for the less well-off; sadly, the latest GOP tax bill was essentially a redistribution of wealth to the rich.

As others have before it, this study hints that inequality – in the US, or anywhere – is a killer.

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