Dr. Michael Dennis
Despite being a top spender on health care, the United States has an average life expectancy that is almost 10 years shorter than many other countries, including Japan, Norway, and Switzerland.
Recent studies indicate that in comparison to other public health systems around the globe, the US ranks very low – lacking universal health coverage, equitable access to medical services, reduction of administrative inefficiencies and promoting welfare options. Tragically, the research shows that life expectancy losses among Black and Latino Americans are three times those for other ethnicities. Shortcomings in our health-care system, policies and public behavior must be addressed.
One very troubling factor is that a profit-focused health-care system has focused primarily on drug discoveries and disease treatment rather than prevention. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular malfunction and cancer are the most common and costly of all health problems but are largely preventable.
As mentioned above, public behavior is a significant contributor to these illnesses. An estimated 60% of premature deaths can be attributed to a population in which smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, poor diet and obesity are rampant. And massive failure to participate fully and cooperatively in preventive actions such as vaccinations and boosters is an embarrassing fact. This has been a very real disappointment in the overall preparation against COVID spread, for example.
With respect to a universal healthcare system in America, there is evidence that most people would welcome its introduction. But if one looks at the history of efforts to initiate it, whenever it is proposed, it is struck down because of intense lobbying from the pharmaceutical insurance industries and untraceable backroom deals. The people in this country would greatly benefit from a political system that was inclusive and promotional of policies beneficial to all without the atmosphere of internal rancor and hostility.
And, of course, the other factor in one’s life expectancy in addition to quantity is quality. An improved environment of comfort in areas such as economic security, personal safety and freedom of beliefs for everyone would greatly stimulate the compassionate desire for more years to enjoy family, friends and life’s pleasures.
Wishing you good health and happiness.