The U.S. spends more than $3.5 trillion per year on health care. Does expensive healthcare mean that Americans get high quality healthcare? Not necessarily. Many people think that having access and money to choose the best doctors and hospitals means better quality care. Recently, researchers looked at whether white Americans living in the richest parts of the country had better health outcomes than average Americans. They found that, yes, rich white people had better health than average Americans. So, do rich white Americans receive the best healthcare in the world? No. Researchers discovered that average citizens of other countries actually had better health compared to rich white Americans. For example, average citizens of other developed countries (such as Australia and Canada) had better outcomes related to mother and infant mortality, colon cancer, childhood leukemia, and heart attacks. This shows that even if everyone in the U.S. were as healthy as the richest white citizens, Americans would still not be as healthy as people in many other countries. Wealth does not guarantee the world’s best healthcare and health. However, in the U.S., we still need to work to ensure that all people and communities are as healthy as privileged white people.
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