Failing Those With the Most Need: Life Expectancy Decreases

What do you say to a health care non-system that’s going backwards?  Reform!

For the first time in several generations there has been a decrease in life expectancy in the U.S.

Four studies in recent years identified modest declines, but a new one that looks separately at Americans lacking a high school diploma found disturbingly sharp drops in life expectancy for whites in this group. Experts not involved in the new research said its findings were persuasive.

The reasons for the decline remain unclear, but researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance.

Medicynical Note:  It’s becoming irrefutable.  We lead the industrialized world in decreases in longevity.  The only question I have is whether current health reform will do enough to reverse the trend.

To repeat the mantra, we pay more per capita and get poorer outcomes than any other health care system in the industrialized world (I know of no other country with declining longevity).  We have nearly 50 million people without easy access to care (health insurance and all that goes with it) and we do lead the industrialized world in bankruptcies due to medical expenses–it’s unknown elsewhere.  We are truly numero uno.

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