A recent study of 11 high-income countries found that adults in the United States are the most likely to face cost barriers to health care, while also being more likely to report poor health.
Conducted by the Commonwealth Fund between March and June 2016, the study compared the effects of the Affordable Care Act’s implementation in the United States with public access to health care in select other countries, all of which have universal health insurance coverage. Researchers asked participants about their experience with their country’s health care system. The findings revealed a clear disparity between the United States and the other countries surveyed:
One-third (33%) of U.S. adults went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick, or failed to fill a prescription because of costs … As few as 7 percent of respondents in the U.K. and Germany and 8 percent in the Netherlands and Sweden experienced these affordability problems.
Furthermore, half of U.S. adults reported that they had problems accessing health care services on weekends and evenings. While the U.S. did perform well in terms of access to specialists and coordinated hospital discharge planning, the study suggests that more needs to be done to provide wider access to quality care.