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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Social indicators - U.S. has low life expectancy compared to other first world countries and continues to drop

Most Americans think that the United States is exceptional. On most social indicators, however, the U.S.  has relatively low rankings for first world countries. One such social indicator is life expectancy and the United States comes no where close to the top ten countries.

There are many reasons for the U.S. low rankings in life expectancy as compared to these other countries. The several that come first to mind are our terrible health care system, our gun policy, our drug problems, infant child mortality, systemic racism, wealth inequality, and our diverse population.

The life expectancy in the U.S. has actually dropped in the last few years.

In 2015, the United States ranked at 31 in the world on life expectancy.

How are our elected officials dealing with issue? When is the last time you heard a campaigning politician raise life expectancy has a policy issue the nation, state, and local municipality has to work on?

Duing the argument over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), then House Speaker, John Boehner, said that the U.S. had the best health care system in the world. Maybe this is true if you have the ealth and health care benefits afforded to a member of congress, but the same health care resources available to a congressperson is available to the the average American.

The Republican party led by the Republican Senate leader Mich McConnell and former Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan have fought against improving our health care system of the last several years being financed by the health care and pharmaceutical industries. While there have been improvements with the ACA making health care available for more Americans many Red states rejected medicaid expansion which would improve health care services to their citizens. Univeral health care is still a vision for the future which is a right in most first world countries which have much higher levels of life expectancy.

Of course, there are other factors which contribute to the low life expectancy in the United States which are better thought of as being pulbic health problems than health care problems with behavioral health issues being significant especially when it comes to substance abuse, suicide, and homicide.

United Health Care was sued and lost on its policy of denying behavioral health care to its subscribers. Access to behavioral health care is still difficult because of stigma and health provider barriers to access.




For a video commentary click here.

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