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Limited healthcare access, medical mistakes contribute to US’s ranking as worst in preventable deaths

The United States ranked worst among 19 leading industrialized nations in preventable deaths due to treatable conditions. France, Japan and Australia were ranked the highest. The study that created this ranking showed that if the United States had preventable death rates more comparable to those countries, there would be 101,000 less deaths in the US each year. The parameters for deaths counted in this study were those that could have been prevented if patients had access to effective and timely health care. The 47 million Americans lacking health insurance accounted for a large percent in the US preventable deaths, but deaths contributed to by medical mistakes are also frighteningly prevalent. The president of the company that backed the research, Commonwealth Fund (a New York-based health policy foundation), Cathy Schoen said, “The fact that other countries are reducing these preventable deaths more rapidly, yet spending far less, indicates that policy, goals and efforts to improve health systems make a difference.”

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