Flawed health care system fuels low life expectancy rank for U.S., researchers say

The New York Times: The U.S. spends "more on health care than any other nation" but "ranks 49th in life expectancy" which has led researchers to conclude "that the problem is the health care system. … In narrowing the blame to the American health care system, the researchers first eliminated several other factors. Obesity and smoking are the most important behavior-related causes of death, but obesity increased more slowly in the United States than in the other countries and smoking declined more rapidly, so neither can explain the differences in survival rates. Homicide and traffic fatality rates have remained steady over time, and social, economic and educational factors do not vary greatly among these countries. But not all experts agree with this analysis. Samuel Preston, a demographer and a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, says the analysis is faulty" because the analysis compares cost and mortality without "direct evidence about the health care system in this article" (Bakalar, 11/29).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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