The United States is an Outlier

Why is life expectancy in the US lower than in other rich countries?

Source: Our World In Data



In terms of life expectancy and health expenditure, the US is an outlier.

While the post-mortems roll in and the second guessing begins, I want to direct your attention to the the chart above. I don’t understand how every American is not aghast at this: We spend up to four times higher, yet life expectancy is lower than in all of these countries.

Here is Our World In Data:

“Why do Americans have a lower life expectancy than people in other rich countries, despite paying so much more for health care?

The short summary is that Americans suffer higher death rates from smoking, obesity, homicides, opioid overdoses, suicides, road accidents, and infant deaths. In addition to this, deeper poverty and less access to healthcare mean Americans at lower incomes die at a younger age than poor people in other rich countries.”

It is obvious we need more focus on preventative actions, diet, exercise, and treating people rather than disease.

While life expectancy for people around the world continued to increase, life expectancy of Americans has declined since 2014. With the pandemic of 2020 – which already caused more than 225,000 deaths due to COVID-19 and 300,000 excess deaths – it is an unfortunate certainty the decline of life expectancy in the US will continue in 2020.

How about a blue ribbon panel for this? Focus on three key metrics in healthcare: Cost, effectiveness, and the efficiency of preventative care.

But despite the pandemic, where wearing a mask has become partisan, I am doubtful that very much can be done. This means Americans will continue to die younger the rest of the industrialized world  but pay much more for the privilege.

This will be the defining question of our time, and I suspect for the incoming administration.

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