“Something’s wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
No shit. Certainly a lot of this has to do with the fact that we’re rich enough to be fat and lazy, but the fact that 45 million people are without health care doesn’t help in the slightest.
A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier, according to international numbers provided by the Census Bureau and domestic numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, had the longest life expectancy, at 83.5 years, according to the Census Bureau. It was followed by Japan, Maucau, San Marino and Singapore.
The shortest life expectancies were clustered in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has been hit hard by an epidemic of HIV and AIDS, as well as famine and civil strife. Swaziland has the shortest, at 34.1 years, followed by Zambia, Angola, Liberia and Zimbabwe.
As always there’s still a significant racial disparity to boot:
Racial disparities. Black Americans have an average life expectancy of 73.3 years, five years shorter than white Americans.
Black American males have a life expectancy of 69.8 years, slightly longer than the averages for Iran and Syria and slightly shorter than in Nicaragua and Morocco.
And our infant mortality rates are just plain stupid:
A relatively high percentage of babies born in the U.S. die before their first birthday, compared with other industrialized nations.
Forty countries, including Cuba, Taiwan and most of Europe had lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. in 2004. The U.S. rate was 6.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births. It was 13.7 for Black Americans, the same as Saudi Arabia.
“It really reflects the social conditions in which African American women grow up and have children,” said Dr. Marie C. McCormick, professor of maternal and child health at the Harvard School of Public Health. “We haven’t done anything to eliminate those disparities.”
The fact that Cuba, with all the sanctions it has to deal with, has a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. is just flabbergasting. But at least the Insurance Companies are making record profits, eh? Best health care in the world? Perhaps.
Shame only a few can afford it.