American Health Care Fail: Increased Death Rate Among Poor Whites Aged 45-54

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported a disturbing study showing an unprecedented increase in the death rate among white citizens with the least education.  The details of the study were reviewed in the American Prospect.

The increased deaths were concentrated among those with the least education and resulted largely from drug and alcohol “poisonings,” suicide, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis. This midlife mortality reversal had no parallel in any other industrialized society or in other demographic groups in the United States.

Case and Deaton’s analysis, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also shows increased rates of illness, chronic pain, and disability among middle-aged whites. The findings have important implications for American politics and public policy, particularly for debates about economic inequality, public health, drug policy, disability insurance, and retirement income. The data also suggest why much of American politics may be taking on an increasingly harsh and desperate quality

The study points out that the U.S. is unique in that no other of the western industrialized nations is having a similar spike in mortality.  Read the entire American Prospect article for details.

Medicynical Note:  Hard to make a clever cynical comment about a study that focuses our attention on the failure of our culture to address it’s most basic needs.  We appear to have a problem not only with health care but with the very basis of our culture…..capitalism. 

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