According to 2010 data collected by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the total health expenditure per capita in the U.S. is two-and-a-half times the average of 33 other developed nations.

However, despite this huge expenditure, the U.S. fares poorly in international comparisons. A 2014 study from the Commonwealth Fund compares the U.S. to 10 other Western nations. The following material is excerpted from this study.

Access: Not surprisingly — given the absence of universal coverage — people in the U.S. go without needed healthcare because of cost more often than people do in the other countries. Americans were the most likely to say they had access problems related to cost. Patients in the U.S. have rapid access to specialized health care services, however, they are less likely to report rapid access to primary care than people in leading countries in the study. ...

Efficiency: On indicators of efficiency, the U.S. ranks last among the 11 countries ... The U.S. has poor performance on measures of national health expenditures and administrative costs as well as on measures of administrative hassles, avoidable emergency-room use and duplicative medical testing. ...

Equity: The U.S. ranks a clear last on measures of equity. Americans with below-average incomes were much more likely than their counterparts in other countries to report not visiting a physician when sick; not getting a recommended test, treatment, or follow-up care; or not filling a prescription (or skipping doses) when needed because of costs. On each of these indicators, in the past year, one-third or more of lower-income adults in the U.S. said they went without needed care because of cost.


Healthy lives: The U.S. ranks last overall with poor scores on all three indicators of healthy lives — mortality amenable to medical care, infant mortality and healthy life expectancy at age 60. ...

These measures reflect how the badly flawed U.S. health insurance system causes tremendous and unnecessary suffering for Americans.

This year, voters in Colorado have a chance to remedy this situation by approving Amendment 69, a ballot initiative that will provide universal health coverage and save us money in the process. This amendment will greatly reduce administrative cost, end deductibles, expand provider choice and include additional benefits over those provided by for-profit health insurance companies. New taxes will be required, but they will be less than health insurance premiums most pay today.

It's a win-win for voters. To get involved, visit:

Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" runs every Friday.