An International Perspective on American Healthcare

dr rick

Most of the following information comes from the AFL-CIO Department of Professional Employees and from Wikipedia. With American doctors being among the best in the world why is it that we receive overspecialized care without regard to primary and preventive care. Why do we have such poor health compared to other industrialized nations. According to the Commonwealth Fund Commission, in a 2014 comparison with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K., the U.S. ranked last overall. Thank heavens, we did not lose our number one title in that which we charge for health care.

As a nation we do not have as many doctors per capita as other OECD countries. We have large shortages of primary care physicians and the numbers required keep increasing.

Our infant mortality rate was 5.96 per 1000 live births while the median was 3.8 among other industrialized countries. Our obesity rate is 35.3 in 2013 compared to 19.0 in other industrialized countries by 2013 statistics. These last two statistics can be improved markedly by just following good health practices. Americans have been the fattest culture on the planet for the past several years, only recently being displaced from that title by Mexico. The upshot? Our planet will finally have more deaths from obesity than from starvation.

Our life expectancy is 78.6 years at birth and this is 22nd among 35 other industrialized countries. At least we paid the most to live the least. In 2016 and 2017 our life expectancy dropped for the first time since 1993. Of 17 high-income countries studied by the National Institutes of Health, the United States in 2013 had the highest or near-highest prevalence of obesity, car accidents, infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancies, injuries, and homicides.[11] A 2014 survey of the healthcare systems of 11 developed countries found the US healthcare system to be the most expensive and worst-performing in terms of health access, efficiency, and equity.

A study by Harvard Medical School found that 45,000 deaths per year occur because of lack of patient health insurance. The extremely high cost of medical care is one of the primary reasons so many Americans have no access to health care. It is a sad commentary on a wealthy country that uninsured working Americans have a 40% higher mortality risk that privately insured working Americans.

I personally feel Americans will never catch up to the rest of the world in medicine. We have too many special interest groups that control our congressional leaders with all their lobbying practices. Of course we all realize what speaks the most to our congressional leaders. It is all the perks and financial contributions. What a sad state of affairs, the congressional leaders of the richest country in the world are still trying to get richer at the expense of their constituents, the very people who put them into congress.

The United States will continue to go backwards in healthcare for at least the next 15 to 20 years and the people able to leave their country for better healthcare will do so. Tourist medicine will be the wave of the future, not for economic reasons but to receive adequate healthcare.

God bless you all from the Maverick Doctor,

Rick R. Redalen, M.D.

Pick up a copy of my book God’s Tiniest Angel and the Last Unicorn, available on Amazon.

Dr. Rick is a retired American physician, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has done mission work around the country and around the world. He is now on a mission to improve healthcare in America. Visit or email him at