(Reuters) - Healthcare, which gets its day in the Supreme Court on March 26-28, has been at the heart of fervent political debate in the United States since long before President Barack Obama’s overhaul became law two years ago.
Quite aside from the legal arguments to be made are hot-button issues ranging from the quality of healthcare to the availability of insurance.
The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked the health standards of its 34 members in a report last November.
The information ranking the United States by category comes from the publication “Health at a Glance 2011 - OECD Indicators”:
* 1st in Spending - Annual healthcare spending totals $2.6 trillion, equal to 17.9 percent of U.S. annual gross domestic product, or $8,402 for every man, woman and child.
* 1st in Good Health Self-Assessments - 90 percent of U.S. adults aged 15 and older describe themselves as being in good health versus an OECD average of 69.1 percent.
* 1st in Obesity - More than one-third of American adults are obese, up from 15 percent in 1980.
* 2nd in Prevalence of Diabetes - 10.3 percent of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes, surpassed only by Mexico’s 10.8 percent. The OECD average is 6.5 percent.
* 3rd out of 9 in Waiting Time for Specialists - Out of nine countries from Europe, North America and the Antipodes, the United States has the third shortest waiting time for specialist appointments at 20 weeks; Germany and Switzerland had shorter waiting periods.
* 4th in Preventing Death from Stroke - The United States ranks behind Israel, Switzerland and France with 32 stroke-related deaths per 100,000 people.
* 7th in Cancer Incidence - Cancer afflicts more than 300 people per 100,000 in the United States, compared with an OECD average of 261.
* 9th in Preventing Death from Cancer - At 185 deaths per 100,000, the United States is behind Australia but well above an OECD average of 208.
* 10th in Number of Practicing Nurses - 10.8 per 1,000 population versus an OECD average of 8.4 percent.
* 11th of 11 in Unmet Need for Care Due to Cost - Compared with 10 European countries and Canada, the United States ranks last in its ability to provide affordable care: 39 percent of people with below-average income and 20 percent of people with above-average income report foregoing a doctor visit or prescription because of the cost.
* 25th in Preventing Death from Heart Disease - At 129 deaths per 100,000 people, the U.S. heart disease mortality rate trails Canada and Austria and is below an OECD average of 117.
* 27th in Life Expectancy - Americans can expect to live 78.2 years on average, below the OECD average and just behind Slovenia and Chile.
* 29th in Number of Practicing Doctors - The United States has 2.4 practicing doctors per 1,000 population, placing it below an OECD average of 3.1 and behind Canada and Slovenia.
* 29th in Doctor Consultations - At 3.9 doctor visits per capita, the United States leads only Ireland, Mexico, Sweden and Chile versus an OECD average 6.5 percent.
* 30th in Hospital Beds - 3.1 per 1,000 population, behind Portugal, Britain and Spain.
* 30th in Medical Graduates - 6.5 per 100,000 population, ahead of only France, Japan and Israel. The OECD average is 9.9 percent.
* 31st in Health Coverage - An estimated 81 percent of Americans are covered by private or government health insurance, placing the country fourth from last behind the Slovak Republic; 25 OECD countries cover 99 percent or more of their citizens.
* 31st in Infant Mortality - 6.5 babies die per thousand live births in the United States, placing the country behind the Slovak Republic and below an OECD average performance of 4.4.
* 31st in Preventing Premature Death - The number of years lost in the United States to premature death is surpassed only by Hungary, Mexico and Russia. The main causes for males and females are accidents, violence, cancer and circulatory disease.
The OECD was established in Europe after World War Two to promote lasting peace through cooperation and reconstruction. Its members are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Howard Goller and Xavier Briand