Research by the Organization of Economic Research and Development has gathered 15 years of data on diseases to measure the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act.

Charting the numbers number of deaths from diseases that could have been prevented if the patient had access to appropriate health care, called the “amenable mortality” rate, shows that the United States is far behind European nations.

These diseases — like heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers — are tracked because early treatment significantly increases the likelihood of survival.

Nearly 20 years ago, the United States was closer to the middle of the pack, but other countries, like Ireland and South Korea, sharply improved their rates by 2007, according to the most recent data available from the Organization for Economic Research and Development.

The rate of improvement in the United States was 14 percent, the lowest of all countries surveyed.

In the Organization of Economic Research and Development survey, some countries that started with high amenable mortality, like the Czech Republic and Poland, had great improvement in their rates. Seven countries improved their rates to pass the United States, which is now on par with countries like Chile and Portugal.

The rate of uninsured Americans has crept up since 1999, a trend that may change with more than eight million people enrolled in health care plans under the Affordable Care Act by mid-April. Researchers will use these mortality rates as one measure of the success of this expansion in health care.

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Jeffrey R. Ungvary


Jeffrey R. Ungvary