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101,000 Lives in the USA Would Be Saved Annually if the USA Improved Its Preventable Death Rate to That of the Three Top Performing Nations

Commentary: France, Japan and Australia rated best and the USA worst in a study of “amenable mortality”—deaths from certain causes before age 75 that are potentially preventable with timely and effective healthcare—in 19 leading industrialized countries. In this Commonwealth Fund-supported study, reported in the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Health Affairs, researchers Nolte and McKee of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that, if the USA had been able to reduce its preventable death rate to the average rate achieved by the three top-performing countries, there would have been 101,000 fewer deaths annually. The USA lagged behind the other 18 industrialized nations in the rate of amenable mortality, an indicator of overall health system performance, despite being the highest spender on health care in the world. See the graph below.

USA Placed Last in Study Comparing Preventable Deaths in 19 Industrialized Countries.

US_Placed_Last_in_Study_Comparing_Preventable_Deaths_in_19_Industrialized Countries

Source: The Commonwealth Fund


  • Nolte E, McKee CM. Measuring the Health of Nations: Updating an Earlier Analysis. Health Affairs 2008; 27(1):58–71.
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