Money Can't Buy You
Love, and At Least In the USA, It Can't Buy You Health Either.
The question is...WHY? If we spend over
two trillion dollars a year on health, the largest expenditure
by far by any nation on the face of the earth, shouldn't we have
by far the best results? It would be shocking for most to
discover that the opposite is actually true. We're not third
or seventh, or even tenth...we are an abysmal FORTY-SECOND in
longevity among the nations of the world. Believe it or
not, Cuba is actually ranked 41st overall, just ahead of us.
Perhaps even more alarming, is that the
United States has a higher rate of infant mortality than most
other developed countries. In infant mortality, the United
States ranks forty-first behind most developed Asian countries,
Europe and even Cuba. The average infant mortality in the United
States is 6.8 deaths per 1,000 births. And before you start
thinking that infant deaths make up the chief cause of our
lowered life expectancy, understand that even when excluding
deaths during the first year of life, America still ranks a
dismal 42nd in longevity.
Below is the referenced article from the Associated Press. Take
time to read it and it may open your eyes to the truth, and
correct the myth that the USA has "the best healthcare system in
the world". Hopefully the more people that discover the actual
facts, the more action will be taken to focus on improving our
healthcare, and not on discovering new and creative ways to
spend money ineffectually.
Here is a
great link to a site that will interactively show you the
shocking statistics. You can compare the USA with any other
Study: U.S. Slipping Down Life Expectancy Rankings
Sunday , August 12, 2007
Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people
in 41 other countries.
For decades, the United States has been slipping in
international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries
improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles.
Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of
Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands.
"Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the
world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able
to keep up with other countries," said Dr. Christopher Murray,
head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the
University of Washington.
A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of
77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two
decades earlier, according to international numbers provided by
the Census Bureau and domestic numbers from the National Center
for Health Statistics.
Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees mountains between France
and Spain, had the longest life expectancy, at 83.5 years,
according to the Census Bureau. It was followed by Japan, Macau,
San Marino and Singapore.
The shortest life expectancies were clustered in Sub-Saharan
Africa, a region that has been hit hard by an epidemic of HIV
and AIDS, as well as famine and civil strife. Swaziland has the
shortest, at 34.1 years, followed by Zambia, Angola, Liberia and
Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United
States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one
is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada
and many European countries have universal health care, they
But "it's not as simple as saying we don't have national health
insurance," said Sam Harper, an epidemiologist at McGill
University in Montreal. "It's not that easy."
Among the other factors:
— Adults in the United States have one of the highest obesity
rates in the world. Nearly a third of U.S. adults 20 years and
older are obese, while about two-thirds are overweight,
according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
"The U.S. has the resources that allow people to get fat and
lazy," said Paul Terry, an assistant professor of epidemiology
at Emory University in Atlanta. "We have the luxury of choosing
a bad lifestyle as opposed to having one imposed on us by hard
— Racial disparities. Black Americans have an average life
expectancy of 73.3 years, five years shorter than white
Black American males have a life expectancy of 69.8 years,
slightly longer than the averages for Iran and Syria and
slightly shorter than in Nicaragua and Morocco.
— A relatively high percentage of babies born in the U.S. die
before their first birthday, compared with other industrialized
Forty countries, including Cuba, Taiwan and most of Europe had
lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. in 2004. The U.S.
rate was 6.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births. It was 13.7 for
Black Americans, the same as Saudi Arabia.
"It really reflects the social conditions in which African
American women grow up and have children," said Dr. Marie C.
McCormick, professor of maternal and child health at the Harvard
School of Public Health. "We haven't done anything to eliminate
Another reason for the U.S. drop in the ranking is that the
Census Bureau now tracks life expectancy for a lot more
countries — 222 in 2004 — than it did in the 1980s. However,
that does not explain why so many countries entered the rankings
with longer life expectancies than the United States.
Murray, from the University of Washington, said improved access
to health insurance could increase life expectancy. But, he
predicted, the U.S. won't move up in the world rankings as long
as the health care debate is limited to insurance.
Policymakers also should focus on ways to reduce cancer, heart
disease and lung disease, said Murray. He advocates stepped-up
efforts to reduce tobacco use, control blood pressure, reduce
cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.
"Even if we focused only on those four things, we would go along
way toward improving health care in the United States," Murray
said. "The starting point is the recognition that the U.S. does
not have the best health care system. There are still an awful
lot of people who think it does."