Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Life Expectancy Up -- The U.S. Must Be Doing Something Right About Health

Americans are living longer than ever. News from the Centers for Disease Control:

U.S. life expectancy has risen to a new high, now standing at nearly 78 years, the government reported Wednesday. The increase is due mainly to falling death rates in almost all the leading causes of death. The average life expectancy for babies born in 2007 is nearly three months greater than for children born in 2006.

Are we overweight, too many of us? Yes. Do many or most of us not get enough exercise? Yes. But are we still doing better? Yes.

So let's be careful about pulling apart the system we have. Most of all, let's not confuse the minutiae of "health insurance policy" with the bigger picture of the health and well being of Americans. Healthcare "reform" is not an end in itself. One kind of reform might be better, or might be worse, but it is a means to an end. The end is better health and well-being for Americans. The political argument over "health insurance reform" is just that: a political argument--a small subset of the bigger issue.

Fortunately, the American people, in their wisdom, seem to agree: Sticking with what we have now is better than trading it away for a bureaucratic unknown cooked up in Washington DC. Hence the NBC poll showing that a majority of Americans now oppose "the public option."

We can do better still, of course. Much better. But let's build on our strengths, by going forward with Serious Medicine.


  1. I have also heard that part of the reason US health care is ranked so low (36th?) among the "developed" nations is that our average life span is skewed by our relatively higher rates of (1) violent crime and (2) soldiers dying in action. While these may be problems on their own, they actually reflect very little about the state of health care in the US. Does anyone know to what extent these factors influence the average US citizen's life expectancy?

    I also hear that our infant mortality rate is relatively high as well, also pulling down the national average life expectancy. Are there also possibly some explanations for this that do not have to do with health care per se?

    Of course, quality health care for as many people as possible should be a goal. I bring this up simply to point out how important it is to gain a complete picture of the causes of the relevant statistics in order to best address the problems.

  2. The Obama goal is FREE health care as a new right for those who pay no taxes, paid for by those who do. He and his people will do or say whatever it takes to get the government's foot in the door. Everything else is irrelevent.

  3. Yes, our infant mortality rate is high. Many, many, too many young mothers to be deny their condition. Then they finally come to the doctor late in their pregnancies, if at all. Although abortion is legal & free in Brooklyn, it is also still a 'back of the kitchen' thing. So says an OB/GYN Kings County Hospital doctor I know.
    Sad isn't it?

    Why can't doctors take their uninsured patients' bills & submit them to the IRS for say, a 30% tax credit?
    Why can't we federalize medical licensing; put malpractice litigation in front of Regional Arbitration Boards & cap awards? After all if a doctor stupidly kills or maims my mother isn't she priceless? So maybe $600k & free medical insurance for life?
    How about doctors sending in their malpractice insurance payments to a new government company who oversees the above activities? With lawyers out of the way, then doctors wont have to practice unnecessary, - defensive, medicine?
    I have put these ideas in front of many Hill People & the White House, no one has even said Boo! :(
    Oh, the doctors who I have run this past like it!

  4. I have also heard that our rate of violent crime in some areas and the death toll in the service does contribute somewhat to the distortion of our life expenctancy for the infant mortality rate...I had heard that most are from low income families who rely on government programs now for health care...ironic or an indication of the future??

  5. The infant mortality rates are high in the US because the US reports infant deaths to this statistic through 3 years of age. Much of the rest of the would reports infant mortality only through 60 days of age.

    US Combat deaths and deaths due to crime are so small as to be statistically insignificant in comparison to the total number of deaths.

  6. Here is an interesting article by a doctor - simple, yet very effective, advice.

  7. Most likely essentially the most helpful as well as up-to-date information I came throughout on this topic. I am sure lucky that I saw your article by chance. I’ll be subscribing to your individual rss feed in order that I can have the latest posts. Enjoy all the pieces here.

  8. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new feedback are added” checkbox and now each
    depression treatment time a remark is added I get four emails with the identical comment. Is there any method you can take away me from that service? Thanks