"Patients in the U.S. have rapid access to specialized health-care services; however they are less likely to report rapid access to primary care than people in leading countries in this study," the report said. "There is a frequent misperception that trade-offs between universal coverage and timely access to specialized services are inevitable—however, the Netherlands, U.K. and Germany provide universal coverage with low out-of-pocket costs while maintaining quick access to specialty services."
"Basically, there's no wait times in countries like Germany, so it's not true that there's a tradeoff," Davis said. "Canada has long waits for specialists, but Canada and the U.S. have long waits just to get in to see your primary doctor."
It wasn't all bad news for the U.S. in terms of rankings.
America ranked in the middle overall for health-care quality metrics. And the country came in third and fourth place for effective care and patient-center care, although it fell short in measures of safe or coordinated care.
And the report underscores the fact that even when America ranks high relative to most other countries in some metrics, it is doing so while spending a grossly disproportionate amount of money to do so.
"For all countries, responses indicate need for improvement," the report said. "Yet, the other 10 countries spend considerably less on health care person person, and as a percent of gross domestic product than does the United States."
"These findings indicate that, from the perspectives of both physicians and patients, the U.S. health care system could do much better in achieving value for the nation's substantial investment in health."
—By CNBC's Dan Mangan