Americans are much more likely to have trouble paying medical bills or getting a quick appointment with a doctor than their peers in 10 other high-income, industrialized countries, according to a new study.
Even Americans with insurance are more likely to forgo care because of high costs and to struggle to pay big bills, according to the survey, conducted by The Commonwealth Fund. And the United States spends far more on health care per person than other nations, to the tune of $3,000 more per head than the next closest nation.
Most of the other countries in the survey have public insurance systems with varying roles for the private market, but the report also includes ones with competing insurers, such as Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. The U.S. is alone in its complexity of health insurance plans, mix of public and private insurance programs and relatively limited regulations.
This leads to Americans paying a lot more out-of-pocket than their counterparts.
The higher prices, however, don't mean we get to jump to the head of the line when it comes to seeing a doctor or nurse when we're sick.
That means we're more likely to go to the emergency room for treatment.
One of the few advantages we have in healthcare is the ease in getting to see a specialist.
The Affordable Care Act will help address some of these disparities, said Cathy Schoen, the survey's author. Many uninsured Americans who have had trouble affording and accessing care will be covered starting in 2014. Also, the policies will be more comprehensive so patients won't be surprised by a treatment not being covered or by annual limits of coverage.
But even under Obamacare, as ACA is known, Americans will still pay more for health care than peers elsewhere because many plans carry deductibles that run into the thousands of dollars. The annual out-of-pocket spending limit for individuals is $6,350, while families may pay up to $12,700.
"The insurance in the exchanges will continue to have much higher cost sharing than in other countries," Schoen said.
Want to earn some cash? Create a video explaining why younger Americans need health insurance.
The Obama administration is doling out $30,000 in cash and more than 100 prizes in a video contest aimed at attracting young people to the Obamacare insurance exchanges. This demographic is considered key to the exchanges' success because the young are usually healthier than the general population. Their enrollment will help lower premiums for everyone.
The government MORETami Luhby - Sep 12, 2013 5:05 PM ET
Three years ago in his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama unveiled a lofty goal to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.
At this point, it doesn't look like he will get there.
Last week we found out that exports had a record year in 2012, totaling $2.2 trillion. The administration called it "further proof that 'Made in the USA' products are in demand all over the world."
But MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Feb 12, 2013 12:18 PM ET
The U.S. military is increasingly using unmanned aircraft systems like these in its operations.
That means big money for the companies that make them.
Companies benefiting from this spending include Northrop Grumman (NOC), General Atomics, Lockheed Martin (LMT), Boeing (BA), Israel Aerospace, and Textron (TXT). All numbers in this story, except those for the F-35, were provided by IHS Jane's Principal Analyst Derrick Maple.
It's estimated that drones make up 31% of the MORESteve Hargreaves - Feb 11, 2013 10:10 AM ET
It's reminiscent of 1999, but with a new social media kick. President Obama is using the phrase My2K to spread fears about the fiscal cliff to the masses on Twitter.
The White House claims that if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of the year, the typical family of four will pay $2,200 more in taxes next year. The president wants to extend the tax cuts MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Nov 28, 2012 4:21 PM ET
Are Americans feeling more miserable than they were four years ago? According to the so-called "misery index," they're not -- a fact that boosts President Obama's chances of winning re-election.
The misery index combines the unemployment rate and the annual inflation rate and has accurately predicted the outcome of nine of the last 12 presidential elections, according to economists at Deutsche Bank.
When it rises, it's considered a sign of a weaker MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Oct 17, 2012 12:08 PM ET
The Romney-Ryan camp is trying to discredit the falling unemployment rate, claiming it's due mainly to workers dropping out of the labor force. But Obama administration official Gene Sperling shot back Tuesday: "That just ain't so."
Sperling, who heads the White House's National Economic Council, pointed to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows the unemployment rate fell to 7.8% last month, down from 9.0% a year earlier. Most MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Oct 16, 2012 4:02 PM ET
Mitt Romney is accusing President Obama of turning the clock back on welfare reform.
The Republican challenger Tuesday launched a new ad charging Obama with gutting the landmark 1996 welfare reform law that requires recipients to work to receive benefits. It's another step in Romney's strategy to paint Obama as the entitlement president.
"You wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job," says the ad, which begins with MORETami Luhby - Aug 8, 2012 8:34 AM ET
This could turn ugly quickly.
Now that Mitt Romney has all but been officially crowned the Republican nominee, a war of words (and graphics) is heating up between him and President Obama on Twitter.
The two sparred about job creation and women today, with Romney even targeting the President's Twitter handle directly.
The tweet included an infographic created by his campaign, pointing to an eye-popping statistic claiming that 92.3% of jobs lost under MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Apr 11, 2012 3:44 PM ET
After being accused of being "out of touch" by his leading Republican rival last week, President Obama trotted out his "middle class experiences" for journalists.
The president said he went through much of college and law school on scholarship, as did his wife, Michelle. Still, they had to take out student loans that they were paying off nine years later. (The couple had $125,000 in debt when they graduated Harvard Law MORETami Luhby - Apr 9, 2012 6:00 AM ET
The construction industry and state and local governments are among the biggest drags on the nation's economic recovery, President Obama said Wednesday.
If those two sectors were recovering as they have in previous recessions, the unemployment rate would be in the 6% range, the president told a group of digital journalists gathered at the White House.
If these areas were to have a similar rebound now, each one would take a point MORETami Luhby - Apr 4, 2012 7:20 PM ET
Here's the latest way President Obama wants to help the unemployed.
The president is looking to give displaced workers $4,000 a year to pursue training in technical fields to land new jobs.
The grants are part of the latest jobs proposal unveiled by Obama Monday. Many of them have gone nowhere as Congress and the White House continue to fight over the best way to promote job creation.
The plan would provide additional MORETami Luhby - Mar 12, 2012 4:58 PM ET
President Obama seems to have a penchant for economists with a fun side. Not a bad call considering that since he took office, the state of the American economy could make a clown cry.
In 2010, he nominated Austan Goolsbee, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and noted funnyman, as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. But shortly thereafter, Goolsbee decided to step down and return to his MOREKaren McGowan - Feb 27, 2012 4:53 PM ET
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