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(Opposing Views)   U.S. is now 51st in the world for life expectancy. It would be higher except for the increasing rate of crime, obesity, people imitating stunts on "Jackass"   ( opposingviews.com) divider line
    More: Fail, U.S., life expectancy, developed country, obesity, interest rates  
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1936 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Dec 2012 at 10:58 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-12-03 09:38:00 AM  
4 votes:
increasing rate of crime

The what now?

upload.wikimedia.orgView Full Size
2012-12-03 12:18:04 PM  
3 votes:
Wealth verses health. Kind of freakin' obvious isn't it?

I grew up through the 'Healthy' decades, where science was killing off Polio, vaccinations were popping up for everything, the Food Pyramid appeared and actually considered whole milk and red meat healthy, where you didn't have to take out a lone to buy meat, fresh fruit, veggies or fish.

Dr.s made house calls and a day in a semi-private room at the hospital cost around $50. Dr.s often carried people on the books and health insurance would not bankrupt you. A visit to the dentist would run around $20 to have a tooth pulled. (Last dentist I checked into charged $160 just to look at your mouth to determine what needed to be done. He didn't pull teeth either. He gave you a $750 root canal instead.)

It was after the Saudi's pulled their oil shortage thing and threw the global economy into a mess in the mid 70's that everything health related took a big jump. When the 80'shiat, Yuppies started the 'sue everyone for everything' trend and the health care system took another massive price jump.

(See, instead of just suing the Dr or hospital, it became profitable to sue everyone from the nurses to the groundskeepers, sue the medication sellers and the medication developers along with anyone who had anything to do with manufacturing medical equipment and supplies. Malpractice insurance costs soared and even home health care workers had to carry liability insurance.)

By the 90's, health care had become a billion dollar a year business. The government closed State mental institutions because they cost too much, dumping the mentally ill onto the streets, so, naturally, up popped private mental institutions, more than willing to help folks with their problems provided they could pay the enormous fees.

(An addiction clinic charges $700 a day with a minimum stay of 30 days.)

Suing anything medical became the mainstay of many a lawyers business. Certain medical practices got hit so hard that we developed shortages of the physicians and those who remained started charging huge sums, with many wanting payment up front.

Your OBGYN or 'Baby Dr' got sued so many times, that his fees tripled, because so many things can go wrong with a developing fetus that lawyers were having a field day. Many Dr.s changed their practice, creating a shortage.

Assorted companies also decided to charge hugely for medical equipment that the average craftsman could make in his shop for a fraction of the price. I personally dealt with a torsion splint, an apparatus designed to slowly straighten a patient's limb after post surgical contractions have shortened the tendons and muscles. It consisted of a canvass and Velcro sling, two adjustable metal bars, a couple of spring loaded pivots and a T-handle screwdriver to adjust the tension.

It gradually forced the limb to straighten out via adjustable pressure, stretching the contracted tendons and muscles.

The screwdriver was about 6 inches long with a movable T bar in one end. Basically, standard flat tip. It was used to turn a couple of stainless steel adjustment screws on the pivot points to vary the tension.

The screwdriver alone was $60. I could have bought one that would work just fine for $5.00 or less from Walmart. The entire brace was $6000. The canvass sling that actually held the limb started fraying after several months. Outfitters who deal in canvass items for hunters could have made one for $25.00 and it would have lasted years.

The whole assembly was 'custom made' for the patient from essentially off the shelf parts stored in the manufacturers warehouse. No part had to be specially machined.

IMO, the maximum charge for the device should have been $200 and that because the parts were durable and rust proof.
BTW. The company would buy back the brace when it was no longer needed. Their price? $50. It would then be refurbished, cleaned and shipped out to someone else for $6000.

Physicians were sued when they did not administer enough tests, which were costly, and might have turned up the health problem. HMO's got into the act by needing to approve tests, which meant they could delay them for months or deny them.

So, physicians, who had been trying to save the patients money, started administering blanket tests -- just to be safe and cover their arses from lawsuits. Then they were accused and sued over ordering too many tests.

By today, the cost of medical care has gone up beyond what anyone ever dreamed of. No one ever expected to have to pay $400 for one pill and I found out that 15 minutes in an MRI machine equals $1000.

Oh, the $50 hospital room rate? Try $1000. That's with the hospital also running on less staff due to financial cutbacks.

Fifteen minutes with my personal physician, not including any treatments, can cost $100. It used to be $20 for an hour. Plus, I now need to have other physicians to handle various ills.

My elderly Mom has one Primary Physician and about 6 to 8 secondaries. Her average office visit is 20 to 30 minutes.

As a kid, when we needed an ambulance, one arrived at no charge. Now, a cop arrives first, followed by the ambulance, followed by the Firehouse paramedics. Three agencies.

One of her last bills for an ambulance call was $526. Granted they did an excellent job, keeping her breathing until she got to the ER, where they took over and solved the problem. Yet, years back, the crew would have done the same with ONE agency and our city paid the bill. We did NOT charge for ambulance services.

We do now.
A whole lot of folks do not go to the Dr. until they're so sick they can't stand it because of the costs. A lot more can't afford the cost of health insurance. The cost of seeing a dentist has gone up at least 8 times in cost from when I was a kid. (Dentures, back then, were $200. Now they can run $5000. Implants start at around $1000 per tooth!

We're seeing more and more people showing up at the ER with major dental infections that have become life endangering than ever before and most ER's will NOT treat dental unless you've an infection that is eating your face off or has turned into blood poisoning.

Dental work has become so costly that many insurance companies will no longer offer coverage for it. Yet bad teeth can affect your overall health, damage your heart, screw up your immune system, throw your diet severely out of whack -- causing serious malnutrition and give you a constant, low grade infection. Any chronic associated pain can affect you emotionally and mentally.
Basically, it can f**k you up.

So, yeah, I can understand how health care equaling greater life spans is tied to one's wealth.

No money?

Then die and try not to do it too noisily. Hope your survivors have money because that $1000 funeral from the 60's is now about $10,000. If not, then a paupers grave in a cardboard casket is for you.
2012-12-03 02:11:46 PM  
2 votes:

MyRandomName: Liberal statistics are always farking awful.

Normalize the countries by racial makeup and get back to me.

Also normalize it by obesity.

Taking a comparison between radically different population sets is beyond dumb.

The truly dumb idea here is yours. The numbers you want to normalize are in fact a large component of the independent variable being analyzed in the first place. No one has ever shown any significant difference in lifespan according to race that is not adequately explained by cultural differences like diet and lifestyle. And obesity is one of those diet and lifestyle issues. And guess what? A really big and important cultural difference is the availability of socialized medicine. Canadians are probably the most culturally similar group to Americans of any nation in the world, and we have a lifespan on average three years longer. We watch much the same TV, eat the same food, do the same jobs. The big difference is that we have socialized medicine.

Just so we're clear about how stupid what you said is, you might as well have said it was unfair to compare nations without normalizing their death rates, at which point everyone would be equal. That's how dumb your claim here was. It not only missed the point, it recommended a remedy that would defeat the purpose of the whole exercise. So I am willing to accept that you're truly stupid and don't understand the variables that affect death rates for a nation, or that you're a mendacious shill deliberately trying to obscure the issue. Either explanation fits. Mind telling us all which it is?
2012-12-03 01:34:02 PM  
2 votes:

Rik01: where you didn't have to take out a lone to buy meat, fresh fruit, veggies or fish.

While I agree with the rest of your rant, this part at least is bullshiat.

The dietary problem in this country boils down to one thing: laziness. Fatass Americans don't want to go buy something from the sides or back of the grocery store and then bring it home and try to figure out how to make a meal out of it, they would rather walk down the middle aisles and grab the prepackaged meals in a box and frozen tv dinners. I can make a crockpot full of soup from fresh ingredients that will last my wife and I 3-4 days for less than $10. That same $10 will buy a single value meal at a fast food restaurant, which is where fatass America also loves to eat. So they end up spending $60-80 for the same amount of food and then complain that they have to do it because food costs so much that they can't afford to cook for themselves. The problem isn't the cost; it is ignorant, lazy, fatass America.
2012-12-03 11:06:41 AM  
2 votes:
If only there were some way to combat this...some sort of nationalized, single-payer healthcare system.
Na that's only the fevered dream of a madman.

/Also not having to work ourselves to an early grave would be nice
2012-12-04 12:14:28 AM  
1 vote:

chuckufarlie: how many countries above the US on that list have socialized medicine?


I don't want to put in too much effort, so I'll just go to wiki's list of countries organized by life expectancy. It's a few years old, but surely enough to get the gist of things...

1. Japan: Insurance mandate, public option.
2. Hong Kong: Heavily regulated private and public care.
3. Israel: Universal coverage under mandatory-participation nationally administered program.
4. Italy: Universal coverage via mixed public/private system with close regulation.
5. Iceland: Universal coverage via state-run healthcare; More doctors/capita than any other nation.
6. Australia: Basic universal coverage via medicare with extended private coverage.
7. Singapore: Narrowly but closely regulated private sector; Government offers catastrophic coverage.
8. Spain: Universal coverage administred by government under constitutional mandate.
9. Sweden: Universal availability of heavily subsidized healthcare.
10. Macau: Universal access single payer.
11. France: Universal coverage, principally through government-funded national insurange program
12. Canada: Universal coverage for medically necessary services via single payer.
13. New Zealand: Roughly 3/4 government funded, most of remainder non-profit.
14. Norway: All hospitals funded out of national budget.
15. UK: Each of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales provide universal single-payer coverage.
16. Austria: Compulsory contribution to national plan provides universal coverage.
* Stop, get up, take a break, walk around a bit*
17. Netherlands: Government coverage of long-term and disability; closely regulated coverage of the rest.
18. Greece: Universal coverage through state-run insurance.
19. Belgium: Mandatory basic coverage through national plan; Closely regulated private insurance
20. Malta: Free healthcare, paid by contributions from workers and employers; Private coverage available.
21. Germany: Universally available subsidized basic coverage; Regulated extended private coverage.
22. Finland: Universally available coverage; small private sector.
23. Cyprus: Universal coverage; free for poor, 12 euro/consultation and 85euro/day inpatient otherwise.
24. Costa Rica: Universal healthcare freely available to all citizens and residents.
25. Luxembourg: National health insurance program.
26. UAE: Healthcare free for citizens.
27. South Korea: Universal coverage through National Health Insurance Program.
28. Chile: Universal coverage through public option.
29. Denmark: Over 99% managed by local governments; universal availability.
30. Cuba: Government-run free healthcare.

TL; DR: All of them. Without exception.

Pictured below: what I will generously call your "argument":

ndep.nv.govView Full Size
2012-12-03 06:28:56 PM  
1 vote:

BgJonson79: Really? Are you REALLY trying to compare the SW of the USA to Quebec? That's funny ;-)

Sure, you can pick out specific regions and claim they are wildly different if you want. It's a fallacious argument, but you can do it. The inhabitants of Montreal's Chinatown don't resemble the inhabitants of Montreal's Jewish areas either. So what's your point? It remains that overall, Canadians taken as a whole are the nation the most culturally similar to Americans. Note also that "similar" =/= "identical". If you want to start nit-picking tiny differences, you are entirely missing the point.

And finally, yes, many parts of Quebec are in fact very similar to parts of the American SW. Small, rural communities that have lived on the land for centuries and who are immensely distrustful of outsiders. If you get past the obvious differences in language and sometimes ethnicity there are very large similarities, at least from a sociological or anthropological perspective.

Stone Meadow: You're ignoring another BIG difference: racial makeup. The US is about 66% white, 12% black, 8% Hispanic, 4% Asian, 3% Native American, and so on. Link

Canada is 80% white, 13% Asian, 4% First Nations and 2.5% black. Link

To put those numbers in perspective, the US has more blacks than Canada has total population. And Canada's population is 93% from the longest living races, while the US's is just 70%. Yeah, you have socialized medicine, but normalize for race and I'll bet there isn't much if any difference in longevity between our two countries.

Did you ignore the part where I mentioned:

KiltedBastich: No one has ever shown any significant difference in lifespan according to race that is not adequately explained by cultural differences like diet and lifestyle.

You're ascribing to race something that is not due to race, but due primarily to cultural differences. Lifestyle, diet, behaviour, norms and expectations about seeking medical care, etc. These are the primary drivers of differences in lifespan. And whether you realize it or not, socialized medicine is a big difference that produces profound changes. Why? Because people are free to seek preventative care without worrying about the impact on their pocketbook.

I am a perfect example. I've been having a repeated pain in my abdomen in exactly the same spot on an intermittent basis for a couple of months. It's not a large pain. It's tiny, and it's not hampering my lifestyle in the slightest. But it's unusual, so I'm going to the doctor next week to ask about it. Because I live in Canada, I have absolutely no qualms about doing so, it will not affect my finances in any way whatsoever. Hopefully it will be nothing. In that case, the time spent going to the doctor will be worth it for peace of mind. If it isn't nothing, hopefully I will have gone early enough to deal with it as a minor issue, whatever it is. And either way, I have no fear of bankruptcy, or of my premiums going up, or of having to get permission from some third party to get my health checked. None of that is even something that comes to mind for me except when I am posting in a thread like this one.

The easy availability of preventative medicine under socialized medical systems is a huge deal. I cannot overstate this. And many of you living in the USA simply don't grasp this because you haven't lived it. It has a very large impact on lifespan and quality of life. Frankly, I would reject out of hand living in the USA unless and until a real socialized medical system is put in place. I have a strong family history of cancer, alzheimer's and athritis. I can pretty much guarantee I'll have to deal with at least one, if not two or three of those conditions. Why would I want to live somewhere that conditions I am all but certain to have to deal with are likely to bankrupt me, regardless of other considerations?
2012-12-03 01:17:26 PM  
1 vote:
Liberal statistics are always farking awful.

Normalize the countries by racial makeup and get back to me.

Also normalize it by obesity.

Taking a comparison between radically different population sets is beyond dumb.
2012-12-03 12:51:50 PM  
1 vote:

squeez cheez: I have seen arguments in the past that USA's aggressive attention to trying to save premature births, many of which do not survive their first year, brings total life expectancy down. It is not mentioned here, and I don't know how much impact there is if any. Would like to see some data in that regard, or methodology of this study relating to deaths within the first year.

Yeah, this.

Plus, I have heard a lot of the third world countries that have a high life expectancy don't include stillborn babies and infants that die for whatever reason in their averages, which can certainly throw it off.

I am for single-payer health care system, but loaded statistic is loaded.
2012-12-03 11:37:11 AM  
1 vote:

dletter: I'd be interested to see the U.S.'s life expectancy in the "Households above 50k" vs. "Households making below 50k" categories, or based on net worth splits.

Came to say something similar. Once you get above the poverty level, average life expectancy goes way up. It is amazing to see how much high infant mortality, a common problem with the very poor, can drag down the overall average.

Jim_Callahan: Look, I'm all for single-payer health care, but bad argument is bad

Agreed. But one of the other arguments is quality of life. There are a lot of people who get injured for whatever reason and never heal quite right because of the lack of health care. I'd rather pay to have them healed than to pay for them to rot on disability.
2012-12-03 11:17:10 AM  
1 vote:
So... the US has basically the same life expectancy as everywhere else in the first world (around 80), and this is bad for America somehow?

Look, I'm all for single-payer health care, but bad argument is bad. Especially when it's extremely obvious you're spinning the data as hard as you can. I mean, really, you think we're going to buy that you just ran out of space on the web page and couldn't put the actual numbers for Japan, China, etc on there? We immediately know by omission that they're something like 80-82, and that you left them off because you knew that would rightfully impress basically no one.
2012-12-03 09:58:21 AM  
1 vote:
Monaco has a wealthy population

I think you'll find a lot of correlation with this.

I'd be interested to see the U.S.'s life expectancy in the "Households above 50k" vs. "Households making below 50k" categories, or based on net worth splits. I guess it is probably hard to do that, but, I think the point is.... Life Expectancy has a lot to do with income, especially in a country that does not have society wide healthcare (which was the point of this article I suppose).

Of course, you'll also have the Lindsey Lohan's of the world bringing down the higher net worth bracket.
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