All you have to do is Google “USA Healthcare Ranking” to see that most people thing we rank low; very low. But I have been carrying the banner that this ranking isn’t an accurate portrayal of the health care system in America. Rather, when appropriately measured, we rank #1, just as you would expect.
See, the organizations doing the ranking have a built in bias. They rank health care systems lower that don’t meet their already stated goals. That is, they punish the United States for not having medical facilities close to a certain segment of the population even though that certain segment of the population moved to rural Montana fully aware of the risks.
But most egregious is the failure of these organizations to normalize their data. For example, these statistics use life expectancy. Yet they fail to account for the fact that the United States has a disproportionate number of deaths due to non-health care related causes.
And I have been fighting an uphill battle. Until now.
USA Today recently reported data that validates what I have been saying:
The first-ever country-by-country estimate of premature births finds that 15 million babies a year are born preterm — more than one in 10 live births.
Although more than 60% of preterm births are in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, they are also a problem for some high-income countries, including the USA and Brazil. Both rank among the 10 countries with the highest number of preterm births.
In the USA, about 12% of all births are preterm, a percentage far higher than in Europe or other developed countries.
Factors driving up the rate in the USA include the number of older women having babies; increased use of fertility drugs, which increase the risk of multiple births; and increased rates of medically unnecessary Cesarean deliveries and inductions “done at the convenience of the doctor or mother,” says Christopher Howson, another co-editor of the report and head of Global Programs for the March of Dimes.
Did you get that?
The US has a “far higher” rate of preterm births than Europe. Might that explain why we have a IMR that is lower than Europe?
If that’s not enough, there is this:
In addition to a notable age gap (the rate for women ages 20-35 was 11% to 12% vs. 15% for women under 17 and over 40), a considerable racial gap also exists in the USA, Howson says.
The preterm birth rate for black Americans in 2009 was as high as 17.5%, compared with 10.9% for white Americans.
Unless you think that medical care delivery is responsible for black American women to deliver premature babies, you are wrong to blame the medical care delivery system for the IMR among US women.
But back to real medical care. If a child is born prematurely in America, how will that baby fare in relation to the rest of the world?
“In the United States, our preemies have among the highest survival rates in the world,” Howson says.
When medical care is actually required, American babies rank among the highest in the world. The HIGHEST!
So why doe the United States rank so poorly in the premature sector?
Factors driving up the rate in the USA include the number of older women having babies; increased use of fertility drugs, which increase the risk of multiple births; and increased rates of medically unnecessary Cesarean deliveries and inductions “done at the convenience of the doctor or mother,” says Christopher Howson
I see. It’s because American women are more comfortable having children late r in life, the increased use of fertility drugs that allow women who wouldn’t otherwise be able to have children the chance to HAVE children and…..laziness.
The fact is this.
Women in America have options available to them that allow for motherhood that women around the globe don’t have. These options drive premature births. However, when American women DO deliver prematurely, they have some of the best outcomes in all of the world.
THIS sounds like a great system. Not a bad one.