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Better Care for Half the $$? Where?

The Commonwealth Fund has released a survey that -- as in the past -- found U.S. health care the most expensive among 11 countries studied but the lowest-ranking on most performance measures. The United Kingdom ranked first followed closely by Switzerland.

But the abstract noted that the data were collected before the 2014 implementation of the main features of the Affordable Care Act, which encourages more efficient organization and delivery of health care and wider access to preventive care.

The U.S. cost was far above others' at $8,508 per capita; others spent less than $6,000 a year, and some spent significantly less than that. Those that spent the least were New Zealand ($3,182), the United Kingdom ($3,405) and Australia ($3,800). (See chart)

U.S. ranked last in four categories -- cost-related problems, efficiency, equity and healthy lives -- in addition to the overall ranking. Its highest scores were in effective care (#3) and patient-centered care (#4).