Dying Younger Than We Should
Over and over U.S. citizens are told,” We have the best health care system in the world.” That would be great if it were true but the facts, baldly stated, don’t support the claim. Not only is it far and away the most expensive system, the U.S. spends half the world’s health bill, it fails to produce outstanding outcomes. For example, in one basic index, all of us in this country die younger than we should. A really healthy society does not have the radical disparities in wealth and income the U.S., one hesitates to use the word, “enjoys.” One in seven Americans are officially in poverty, the highest levels in decades. Evidence demonstrates that people in more egalitarian societies have healthier and happier lives.
Stephen Bezruchka is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. He worked for many years as an emergency physician in Seattle. His particular areas of research are population health and societal hierarchy. He has spent over 10 years in Nepal working in various health programs, and teaching in remote regions. He is author of numerous articles and essays. He is a contributor to Divided: the perils of our growing inequality, New Press, 2014.