The Washington Post reports that “the U.S. [is] losing ground on preventable deaths.” Although the U.S. is the international leader in the detection and treatment of most cancers, the death rate from diseases that need not cause a high rate of mortality among people under the age of 70 — diabetes, for example — is high here. Ten years ago, the U.S. ranked 15th out of 19 industrialized countries in the “preventable death” category. Now it ranks 19th out of 19th. Meanwhile, per capita medical spending in this country continues to outstrip such spending in the rest of the industrialized world.
The Post tries to tie our high “preventable death” rate to the fact that many Americans are uninsured, but its case isn’t particularly persuasive. For example, the Post suggests that a lack of regular check-ups among people without medical coverage is a significant contributor to the high death rate from diseases that shouldn’t kill. But early detection is also crucial to surviving diseases that are likely to kill, and the Post acknowledges that the U.S. is a leader in detecting and preventing deaths from such diseases.
To understand why so many Americans are dying before their time from diseases like diabetes, it might be instructive to walk down a typical street in most American cities or towns and eyeball the population. Compared to other industrialized counties I’ve visited, or population doesn’t appear to be taking good care of itself. It may not be our medical system and its providers that are letting us down; we may be the ones who are letting us down.
Recall too in this connection that there are an estimated 4.5 million Americans who are eligible for Medicaid or S-CHIP but have not enrolled. It’s tough to save people who lack the initiative to take advantage of free health care.
It used to be fashionable for leftists to condemn America for having a high infant mortality rate. But was America to blame for the habits and behavior pattens of pregnant girls who recklessly endangered the babies they were carrying?
Fortunately, most Americans don’t seem to be buying the left’s indictment of our health care system. They have more confidence in their own eyes than in the misleading statistics being fed to them by the liberal MSM, and thank God for that.
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