What We're Reading: US Healthcare System Ranked 50th of 55 in Efficiency

What we’re reading, October 4, 2016: US healthcare system is the 50th most efficient out of 55; health agencies will spend Zika funds on vaccine trials and local prevention efforts; Americans have little confidence in their healthcare decisions as 69% say they are confused by terminology.

According to the most recent Bloomberg healthcare efficiency index, America has the 50th most efficient healthcare system out of the 55 countries studied, coming ahead of Jordan, Columbia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, and Russia. The index, which used data from 2014, assesses life expectancy, healthcare spending per capita, and relative spending as a share of gross domestic product (GDP). Hong Kong was rated as most efficient, spending an average of $2021 on healthcare per capita compared to the US average of $9403 per person.

The CDC has announced how it will spend the $1.1 billion in funds allocated for fighting Zika as part of last week’s government budget bill. According to director Tom Frieden, $350 million will be distributed to states and territories to help fight outbreaks at the local level. Some of the money will also be used to fund clinical trials of a Zika vaccine and a point-of-care diagnostic test.

A survey of US healthcare consumers found that many of them are confused by healthcare costs, plans, and terminology with 69% saying that deciphering healthcare language is a significant barrier to their decision-making. According to the report from Alegeus, the survey "clearly signals the need for significant education, tools, and support that engages and empowers consumers to take ownership and make savvier healthcare decisions."