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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Health care in the United States

Health care in the United States is provided by many separate legal entities. Health care facilities are largely owned and operated by theprivate sectorHealth insurance is now primarily provided by the government in the public sector, with 60-65%[citation needed] of healthcare provision and spending coming from programs such as MedicareMedicaidTRICARE, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and theVeterans Health Administration. Most of the population under 65 is insured by an employer, some buy health insurance on their own, and the remainder are uninsured.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 49.9 million residents, 16.3% of the population, were uninsured in 2010 (up from 49.0 million residents, 16.1% of the population, in 2009).[1][2] According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States spent more on health care per capita ($7,146), and more on health care as percentage of its GDP (15.2%), than any other nation in 2008.[3] The United States had the fourth highest level of government health care spending per capita ($3,426), behind three countries with higher levels of GDP per capita: Monaco, Luxembourg, and Norway.[3] A 2001 study in five states found that medical debt contributed to 46.2% of all personal bankruptcies and in 2007, 62.1% of filers for bankruptcies claimed high medical expenses.[4] Since then, health costs and the numbers of uninsured and underinsured have increased.[5]
Active debate about health care reform in the United States concerns questions of a right to health care, access, fairness, efficiency, cost, choice, value, and quality. Some have argued that the system does not deliver equivalent value for the money spent. The USA pays twice as much yet lags behind other wealthy nations in such measures as infant mortality and life expectancy. Currently, the USA has a higher infant mortality rate than most of the world's industrialized nations.[nb 1][6] In the United States life expectancy is 42nd in the world, after some other industrialized nations, lagging the other nations of the G5 (Japan, France, Germany, UK, USA) and just after Chile (35th) and Cuba (37th).[7]
Life expectancy at birth in the USA, 78.49, is 50th in the world, below most developed nations and some developing nations. Monaco is first with 89.68. Angola is last with 31.88. US statistics are below the average life expectancy for the European Union.[8][9] The World Health Organization (WHO), in 2000, ranked the U.S. health care system as the highest in cost, first in responsiveness, 37th in overall performance, and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study).[10][11] The Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States last in the quality of health care among similar countries,[12] and notes U.S. care costs the most.[13]
A 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report said: "The United States is among the few industrialized nations in the world that does not guarantee access to health care for its population."[14] A 2004 OECD report said: "With the exception of Mexico, Turkey, and the United States, allOECD countries had achieved universal or near-universal (at least 98.4% insured) coverage of their populations by 1990.[15] The 2004 IOM report observed "lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States."[14] while a 2009 Harvard study estimated that 44,800 excess deaths occurred annually due to lack of health insurance.[16]
On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) became law, providing for major changes in health insurance.

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