In response to the letter by Dave Majernik about our nation's health-care system ("Would a New Health System Allow This Operation?" May 21), I disagree that our health-care system is the best in the world.
The World Health Organization in 2000 studied more than 190 health-care systems, and although the United States spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product on health care than any other country studied, it ranked 37th out of 191 countries in performance. Last year, a study by researchers for the journal Health Affairs found that France, Japan and Australia were the best and the United States the worst of 19 countries in rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions.
The key factor in the poor U.S. rankings was the large number of Americans who lack any type of health insurance. According to the U.S. government, more than 47 million Americans are without health insurance. Without a universal health-care system, the United States will continue to be ranked at or near the bottom in access, equity and health-care outcomes.