Failed Health Care in the US

It’s official: life expectancy is declining in the U.S; importantly, this is happening across all racial groups. The nation’s lifespan reversal is being driven by diseases linked to social and economic privation, a health care system with glaring gaps and blind spots, and profound psychological distress. The twin trends — an increased probability of death in midlife and a population-wide reversal of longevity — set the United States in stark contrast to every other affluent country in the world.


31 thoughts on “Failed Health Care in the US

  1. From the piece: …”a downward trend that has now been sustained for three years in a row”…

    Another side effect of Trump?

    Actually, this is alarming, but like the climate, no one important will pay attention.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, to be fair, it started declining under Obama. Although, the decline is largely in the red Mid-west states and in VT/NH, which both have had huge increases in white drug overdoses.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s the impact of profit and overhead…typically between 40-60% at each stage.

      Those mark-ups pay for advertising, insurance, wages and salaries of their employees (half of the employee’s payroll taxes), local/state and federal taxes, utilities, recurring maintenance & repairs, etc.

      +95% of the time, manufacturers sell their products to distributers.
      If that unit cost was $10 (which included the manufacturer’s mark-up)? The distributer marks it up 40% to 60% to cover their profit and overhead.

      That $10 product is now between $14 and $16.

      When that distributer sells that product to say a national store? They’ll mark it up another 40% to 60% and charge you somewhere between $19.60 and $25.60.

      What I just described is how the free market works with minimal middlemen.

      When it comes healthcare and medications? There are additional mandated middlemen that ‘We the People’ are paying.


  2. It’s just bad math.

    The increases in cause of premature death are suicide and lifestyle related, and they are happening in fairly young people.

    Increases in life expectancy are incremental, so better health care might give and old guy like me a few extra years, but one guy killing himself at 40 because he can’t face going into rehab again cancels out the gains for a dozen codgers.


    1. True, it’s suicides and opioid overdoses, especially among white, what-used-to-be middle class young men and women.

      Speaking of bad math, I wonder if you saw Trump’s comments today. He signed a bill – the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act – which authorized minting a commemorative coin for the 100th anniversary of (national) women’s suffrage. Here’s what he had to say:

      “They’ve been working on this for years and years. I’m curious why wasn’t it done a long time ago? why wasn’t the coin made a long time ago, years ago? And also, I guess the answer to that is because now I’m president, we get things done. We get a lot of things done that nobody else got done.”

      Yes, President Trump, that’s the answer. We didn’t make a 100th anniversary coin years ago because you weren’t there to get it done. Not because, oh, I don’t know, it wasn’t the 100th anniversary yet? No, it’s because you weren’t there. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. The health of a nation is not just a matter of fancy hospitals and expensive procedures. It is a matter of the total well being of all citizens with regards to nutrition, education, poverty rates, affordable access to good care, and mental health care.

      Rural hospitals and clinics are closing down at an alarming rate. Doctors and even nurse practitioners are sparse in many of the same areas.

      Job pressures are some of the highest among industrial nations with no real discernible gains. Drug and alcohol addiction, made worse by the current opioid crisis, is part of that malaise.

      In other words, we are literally killing ourselves.

      We can blame this segment of the population or that one. But if all Americans are not part of our health care spectrum, why aren’t they?

      Only about 30% of Americans would qualify for the military. That alone should send up alarm bells.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OK, so?

        The point it that the title implicates the health care system as the culprit when in reality it is a cultural problem.

        You can’t solve a problem if you mis-identify it.


        1. It is NOT a cultural problem. It is an economic problem. The declining life expectancy is driven by the growing concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. People with decent paying jobs with decent security and decent prospects do not fall into drug addiction and suicidal depression at these modern rates.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. That is one of the silliest things you have ever written.

            There are lots of people who are very poor who have the strength of character to avoid addiction and self pity.

            It is those people who are raised with a sense of entitlement who fall prey to weakness.

            We have raised a generation of snowflakes who expect a trophy for showing up and can’t handle failure.

            It is not hardship that makes one weak, it is the expectation that life be easy and that failure is always someone else’s fault that leads to despair when reality proves different.


          2. You had the benefit of growing up in Pax Americana—a time when the country you just happened to be born in held about half of the world’s wealth. Taxes were high, unions were relatively strong, and stable, well-paying jobs were plentiful. Your gender and the color of your skin guaranteed you a spot at the front of the line.

            Then, having secured your piece of the pie, you elected the handsome movie star who started undoing all the mechanisms of upward mobility gifted to you by your parents. You started permanent wars, crashed the economy, and are destroying the planet. And now you sit in your La-Z-Boys, collecting the Social Security you’re trying to eliminate, popping blood pressure pills paid for by the Medicare you think only you deserve, and lecture us about being entitled snowflakes.

            Liked by 3 people

          3. As usual, it is you who is the “silly” fellow around here. Alcoholism, drug addiction and suicidal depression ARE well-established symptoms of economic deprivation and hopelessness. Always have been.

            As for “falling prey to weakness” (a laughable example of how self-satisfied “conservatives” think), EVERYBODY has their breaking point and as economic opportunity shrinks and hopelessness increases more people are pushed to breaking point. Sure, plenty of people can handle any adversity but there strength does not make other people into “snowflakes.”

            Ironically, it is the supporters of those political leaders unwilling to do anything about the core problem – economic injustice – that are suffering the most from these afflictions. Sad.

            Liked by 2 people

          4. @Tabor

            “We have raised a generation of snowflakes who expect a trophy for showing up and can’t handle failure.”

            As an explanation, that’s a load of horse shit. Your comment reflects the out of touch simple mindedness of the “we did it ALL on our own” entitled white (and old) mentality.

            I was still teaching those “snowflakes” in my mid-sixties and can attest to their drive and toughness. Of course it’s easier to simply blame an entire generation than examine and address the systemic issues that actually created the problems.

            Liked by 2 people

        2. I think my comment was pretty clear that it was not just healthcare.

          “It is a matter of the total well being of all citizens with regards to nutrition, education, poverty rates, affordable access to good care, and mental health care.”

          I left out food supply quality, stress and environmental problems.

          All industrial nations face similar challenges. Only we refuse to address them effectively.

          There is your “cultural” problem.

          Liked by 2 people

    3. “It’s just bad math.”

      Oh, so you’ve received your copy of the JAMA? It’s gotta be a hoax. Has to be, it uses the same kind of mathematics that tell us the atmosphere is changing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You only have to read the article to see that that the shortening of the average lifetime is skewed by the increase is deaths in the 40 to 64 cohort and not by shorter lifespans of those who are not suicidal or addicted.

        That’s why it is a cultural, not a medical, problem. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t identify it accurately.


        1. “The recent decrease in US life expectancy culminated a period of increasing cause-specific mortality among adults aged 25 to 64 years that began in the 1990s, ultimately producing an increase in all-cause mortality that began in 2010.” … specifically “caused by drug overdoses, alcohol abuse, suicides, and a diverse list of organ system diseases.”

          Cause-specific, aka the increase in the Sackler family wealth for one.

          But really, Doc, doesn’t it concern you that your kids won’t live as long as you? That 40-year old bubble is moving up AND even eliminating the the self-inflicted (societal) you still have “a diverse list of organ system diseases.” That’s something insidious sounding. Food supply?

          But here, “bad mathematics” to amuse the grand kids — It was a dark and stormy night and 3 Bible salesmen had been driving into a raging snowstorm for hours. Finally, still hours from home, they stopped at a motel and sought a room. The clerk seeing an opportunity said, “I’ve only one room left and it’s $30,” $10 more than it’s going rate, which he intended to pocket.

          The salesmen, faced with the prospect of sleeping in a cold car, each coughed up $10.

          The clerk, being a good Christian, felt pangs of guilt for hosing them so badly, called the bellhop over and gave him $5 saying, “Take this to room 202 and give it to the men inside.”

          The bellhop seeing an opportunity to cash in (another good Christian) pocketed $2 and when the door opened handed each man $1.

          Okay, so the men paid $9 each for the room, that’s $27, and the bellhop pocketed $2, that’s $29, where’s the other $1??

          Liked by 1 person

          1. @Tabor

            And FWIW; depression is a clinical disease that can onset at any time in an individual’s life.

            Again, you have no control nor insight to its manifestation.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, I’ll give you a thought. Just in the last month, a relative was with their friend at home.

    My relative slumped, started slurring, fell to the floor, and opened the bladder. The friend leapt to action called 911 and then me. I arrived at the house just after the ambulance, spoke to the EMTs and answered the questions on the patient’s lethargy and extremely high blood pressure, and the friend said “It was like throwing a switch.”
    Told the EMTs I would be at the hospital (local one starts with a “S” and ends in an “entara”) when they arrived. I was good to my word. I watched the ambulance arrive as I was walking in. I took the residential streets and a few shortcuts at great speed.
    After an hour and fifteen minutes of cooling our heels, checking every 10 to make sure the desk attendant knew we were there still, they tell us we can go in. Talking to my relative, I watched as a nurse would come and go, doing this and that, and telling me that the doctor will be in to talk to us in a minute.
    Ten minutes goes by, the ER doc pops in, talks to the patient, turns to me and asks, “Are they always so out of it?”
    “No, this is not normal,” and I relayed the “like hitting a switch” details, and the events of the fall and soiling.
    “Wait, I’ll be right back,” and he walks out.
    Five minutes and the nurse runs in, starts wheeling the bed out and says, “We’re taking getting a CAT scan.”
    WHAT?!! Two hours before they react to obvious stroke or aneurysm symptoms with a CAT scan BECAUSE they didn’t bother to talk to a relative that was 15 feet away for more than an hour and a half!
    Or, maybe they were just waiting pre-approval from the insurance company.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. RE: “Thoughts?”

    Mine are that the Pilot article is inane, and doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.
    The authors want their audience to believe we are dying because we have a bad economic system. The solution — implied, but unstated — is that we must change our economic system to stop from dying.

    I don’t buy it. For one thing, the Pilot article provides no link to the study on which it is based. We have to believe what we’re told, without background. For another, there is no discussion of any history where similar observations of other populations have been made in the past and whether those observations were well-explained by similar speculations.

    In other words, the Pilot article seeks, without facts or context, to scare and manipulate. It is bullshit.


    1. Yeah, that’s it… no link provided so it must be bullshit. Were you going to click on the link with your pencil in the print edition?

      It’s a JAMA refereed article protected by copyright laws, so here’s the link —

      “Buy this article and get unlimited access and a printable PDF ($30.00) – Sign in or create a free account”

      But first, enroll at ODU and get at least a BA in Mathematics with senior year studies in Prob & Stat.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It isn’t hard to see that the journalists who wrote the article misrepresent the science, probably on purpose to promote a narrative.

        The essence of it is this: Some scientists discovered a few interesting patterns in a data set. They don’t know the cause of the patterns, but they suggest a few areas for further study. Along come some journalists who hype the story by suggesting some sort of a crisis is happening right before our eyes. Something must be done!

        Lost on everyone is that the actual cause of the patterns in the data set is unknown.


  5. Wait, it’s a 10-year incremental windowed study that ended this time in 2017, ain’t it?

    Yeah well, when the results of 2017 to 2021 epoch are included in the next study, we will see life expectancy leap to 100+ from the MAGA tax-cut effect.

    Liked by 2 people

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