Those who adopt the “No Apology” attitude towards anything the
States does will argue that whatever the topic, the U. S.
does it best. This of course is not true. Health care fits into this category, because
although it is documented that the United States
spends more on health care per capita than any other country, the health of the people of the U. S. doesn’t rank first.
One reason for that is the great disparity in health care provided to various income groups. Have a nice middle or upper management position with a corporation, or a job with a governmental unit and your health insurance and health care is fantastic. Work as a low skilled, low level worker in the private sector, particularly in the service sector and your access to health care is greatly limited. The impact of all of this is shown in newly released statistics on life expectancy among those without a high school diploma. It is deplorable. It is getting worse.
The decline among the least educated non-Hispanic whites, who make up a shrinking share of the population, widened an already troubling gap. The latest estimate shows life expectancy for white women without a high school diploma was 73.5 years, compared with 83.9 years for white women with a college degree or more. For white men, the gap was even bigger: 67.5 years for the least educated white men compared with 80.4 for those with a college degree or better.
There is no clear cause that researchers found for this horrific set of statistics. Clearly lifestyle is a factor.
Ms. Montez, who studies women’s health, said that smoking was a big part of declines in life expectancy for less educated women. Smoking rates have increased among women without a high school diploma, both white and black, she said. But for men of the same education level, they have declined.
And so those that say there needs to be more personal responsibility have a point. But those people tend to argue that this lack of personal responsibility is the only problem. It is not. The sad truth is that in the
working people without a high school education have access to the health care
system only when they are very ill. They
do not have access to preventive programs, or early detection programs or
educational programs. They are largely
the forgotten people, caught between very low income people who have access
through Medicaid and higher income people who have access from employer
sponsored health insurance.
So what about
being the best in the
world? Statistics tell a different
The dropping life expectancies have helped weigh down the
in international life expectancy rankings, particularly for women. In 2010,
American women fell to 41st place, down from 14th place in 1985, in the United
Nations rankings. Among developed countries, American women sank from the
middle of the pack in 1970 to last place in 2010, according to the Human Mortality Database. United States
Yes, in life expectancy for women in developed countries, we’re number 1. Assuming you mean number 1 is the bottom of the pack.