A Global Health Scorecard Finds U.S. Lacking

Donald G.McNeil Jr. | The New York Times | May 22, 2017

Over the last 25 years, China, Ethiopia, the Maldive Islands, Peru, South Korea and Turkey had the greatest improvements in “deaths avoidable through health care at their economic level,” a complex but intriguing new measure of global mortality described last week in the Lancet. By that standard, the United States improved slightly over the same period, 1990 to 2015.

Dr. Christopher J. L. MurrayBut the American ranking is still so low that it’s “an embarrassment, especially considering the U.S. spends $9,000 per person on health care annually,” said the report’s chief author, Dr. Christopher J. L. Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Elected officials now struggling to reform American health care, Dr. Murray added, “should take a look at where the U.S. is falling short.” The new measure takes into account at how well each country — whether rich or poor — fared at preventing deaths that could be avoided by applying known medical interventions. (The metric thus excludes many deaths from epidemics, smoking, obesity, guns, car accidents and so on.)...