Data shows a century-old decline in life expectancy in a country with the world’s most expensive healthcare system
At the end of August, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a press release announced that life expectancy in the country will decrease for the second year in a row in 2021. It is noted that Americans can expect to live as long as they did in 1996 and that the two-year decline is the most significant in a world. century.
According to the CDC, what is driving this significant drop is the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. That is perhaps not surprising since the US has the highest number of deaths and deaths worldwide. But it’s also important to note that U.S. life expectancy has held steady since before the pandemic due to “unintentional injury,“Hepatic disease, suicide, and preventable diseases.
Now, the US is on track to drop out of the top 50 countries for life expectancy. A key factor is that every country above has a choice of public health insurance or a publicly funded health care system. Could there be a correlation?
Well, a new poll came out on Monday from Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that less than half of Americans believe their health care system is well taken care of. Only 12% said it was handled extremely or very well. Solution: 40% favor a single-payer public health care system and 58% favor the public option.
It’s not hard to see why Americans feel this way when health outcomes in this country are so poor, while one of the most expensive health care system in the world. And it’s not just the elderly or immunocompromised, for example, those most at risk of contracting Covid-19 who face poor American health outcomes, as I mentioned earlier.
Another valuable metric for understanding the health impact of pandemics and other factors on Americans’ survival is called ‘years of life lost’ (YLL). A preprint study titled ‘Missing Americans: Early Death in the United States, 1933-2021‘found that “Half of all under-65 deaths and 91% of the under-65 increase since 2019 would have been avoided if the United States had had the same mortality rates as other countries.”
It concluded that the United States had much higher rates of child and adult mortality than its peers, sometimes with rates even three times higher. Furthermore, the paper found that even removing the excess number of Covid-19 deaths, the US would still have more deaths than comparable countries from unintentional injuries and diseases that can be fatal. preventable. All of this has contributed to a total YLL in 2021 of 25 million years, mainly due to young people dying prematurely.
There is much to be said for the myriad public health issues facing America, including the opioid crisis, the gun violence epidemic and widespread obesity. All of these require a strong public health and public policy response to adequately address. But clearly, the key that can bring all of these pieces together is a working health care system that produces accessible and cost-effective outcomes.
As I mentioned before, Americans are paying too much for too little for treatment. But then there’s a huge amount of people who don’t have access to health care. For example, some young people do not go to the doctor because they think they are young and healthy. Sometimes those people still end up having an emergency that requires them to be hospitalized.
The point is that preventive medicine is vitally important to making sure people don’t end up in the emergency room or become severely disabled – and America’s healthcare system has failed. This is evident in another metric, average healthy life expectancy (HALE), which measures how long a person can expect to live without a disability. According to the World Health Organization’s 2019 report, the United States has the lowest HALE among all countries high income country is just over 66 years old.
Again, Americans are dying younger than their peers, they are more likely to die in their healthy years from preventable causes, and are developing disabilities at a younger age. On top of that, they have more expensive and less accessible healthcare. Is it any wonder so many of them are unhappy with their healthcare system? It was a good time to reform it.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author only and do not necessarily represent RT.
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