Study Says Shorter Life Expectancy in U.S. Tied to Substandard Care
U.S. residents die earlier than people in similarly developed nations because the U.S.'s health system is less effective, according to a recent Columbia University study published in Health Affairs, Reuters reports.
The research refuted the reasons typically given for the nation's shorter life expectancy, such as obesity, traffic accidents and high murder rates.
The study found that 15-year survival rates for U.S. men and women ages 45 to 65 have declined over the previous 30 years, compared with 12 other countries:
- the Netherlands;
- Sweden; and
The study also found that although medical costs went up in all of the countries, costs increased substantially more in the U.S. while total life expectancy increased by a much smaller margin than other countries.
The researchers wrote, "The findings undercut critics who might argue that the U.S. health care system is not in need of major changes."
They also noted that because the findings do not prove the U.S. has significantly higher rates of obesity, traffic fatalities or murders, it led them to "believe that failings in the U.S. health care system, such as costly specialized and fragmented care, are likely playing a large role in this relatively poor performance on improvements in life expectancy" (Fox, Reuters, 10/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.