“For most of my dozen plus years at Tulane University, I opened my seminar on “Why Primary Care Matters” requesting students to respond with a “Yes” or “No” to the statement: “The American Healthcare System is the Best in the World.” Early on, that is in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before our public “health care reform” debate, most answered “Yes.” At that point, I would show evidence otherwise, including the World Health Organization’s ranking of the world health systems, which placed the US at #37, just above #38 Slovenia and #39 Cuba. Then, for fun, I’d play the clever YouTube satire¹ celebrating our “proud” ranking:
“We’re #37, we in the USA…. We got something to say: We pay more for less, 40% in fact!”
Slovenia and Cuba certainly brought snickers. But Cuba? #39? That little third world, embargoed communist island just a short swim (for certain persistent swimmers!) from Florida? Land of Cohibas, the Buena Vista Social Club and the Copa Cabana? Ranked just below the mighty US? Really? What’s that about?