US Healthcare Blamed for Low Life Expectancy

Another study has been released that says US healthcare needs reform. The researchers call out weak regulation as a primary factor since other countries with stronger regulation have not seen the same deterioration.

In this paper we explore changes in fifteen-year survival at middle and older ages, alongside per capita health care spending, in the United States and twelve other wealthy nations. We then examine the extent to which the survival and cost variations over time among these nations can be explained by demographics, obesity, smoking, or mortality events that are not closely related to health care, such as traffic accidents and homicide. By comparing health system costs and mortality rates over time, it is possible to assess whether trends in risk factors for health or causes of death can explain the observed relative decline in broad health outcomes among American men and women over the past thirty years.

The BBC calls it US healthcare ‘to blame’ for poor life expectancy rates.

The US spends far more on healthcare than any other country as a percentage of gross domestic product, the study finds.

“We speculate that the nature of our health care system – specifically, its reliance on unregulated fee-for-service and specialty care – may explain both the increased spending and the relative deterioration in survival that we observed,” the authors wrote.

“If so, meaningful reform may not only save money over the long term, it may also save lives.”

The authors said those aspects of the US health system contributed to unnecessary medical procedures, poor communication between doctors and higher rates of medical errors.

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