Research from Harvard Medical School, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, ICES (formerly the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences), and other international partners has revealed that mortality rates among low-income patients are 10–20% higher than those among high-income patients in six distinct countries.

According to the researchers, the results indicate that income-based discrepancies exist even in nations with universal healthcare and strong social services.

The International Health System Research Collaborative, an initiative devoted to studying the trade-offs inherent in many nations’ ways to delivering healthcare, produced the research, which was published in the journal JAMA.

“A country’s health care system can impact treatment and outcomes for specific health conditions, like cardiovascular disease,” said Bruce Landon, professor of health care policy at the Blavatnik Institute at HMS.

We wanted to explore whether the poorer outcomes that have been observed in lower-income Americans relative to higher-income Americans were reduced in countries with universal health insurance.

We found that high-income individuals had better survival rates and were more likely to receive life-saving treatments compared to low-income individuals, regardless of their country of residence or type of health system,” he said.