Just hours after House Republicans moved forward with their new health plan, President Donald Trump took a moment to praise a completely different health-care system. Australia, he said, has “better health care than we do.”
Mr. Trump’s assessment of Australia’s health-care system came as he also promised the American Health Care Act (ACHA) would be “fantastic health care.” Republicans in the House on Thursday voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and. The president’s statements beg two questions: just how does Australia’s health-care system compare to the current U.S. system, and will the ACHA help raise U.S. standards?
By many measures, Australia’s health-care system provides better outcomes at a lower cost than the U.S. system, according to data tracked by the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker. Australia’s government provides free or subsidized health care for Australian citizens as well as those with permanent visas, providing what’s considered universal health care. In the U.S., about one in 10 residents lacks health insurance, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
The U.S. has the lowest life expectancy and the highest disease burden among comparable developed countries, including Australia, the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker notes. The U.S. spends about $8,745 per capita on health care costs, compared with less than half that — $3,997 per person — in Australia.
“The U.S. has the highest disease burden rate among comparable countries,” said Cynthia Cox, an associate director for health policy and economics research at the Kaiser Foundations. “That’s a sign the health-care system is working better in Australia than the U.S.”
To be sure, the statistics on Americans’ shorter life spans and higher…