Healthspan Blog

Long healthspans mean happy lives

Relatively high infant mortality in America

9th May 2006

While some people argue that statistics are skewed, there’s no doubt that something is wrong with American healthcare:

Among 33 industrialized nations, the United States is tied with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with a death rate of nearly 5 per 1,000 babies, according to a new report. Latvia’s rate is 6 per 1,000.

That’s among the worst of the 33 countries compared in this study. The lack of national healthcare and short maternity leaves are mentioned in the article. Teen pregnancies (which are more likely to end in infant death) are also likely part of the problem. I’ve heard people blame unhealthy mothers (who grew up on fast food).

However it’s hard to ignore that too many Americans don’t have access to proper healthcare:

The U.S. ranking is driven partly by racial and income health care disparities. Among U.S. blacks, there are 9 deaths per 1,000 live births, closer to rates in developing nations than to those in the industrialized world.

I was actually just discussing the healthcare issue with two of my colleagues today. We have all expereinced not having health insurance when it would have been helpful. One friend of mine had to pay 450.00 out of pocket for tests on his back (he never did see a doctor or find out why his back hurt). I moved to Korea because the only way for me to get health insurance as a recent college graduate in America was to take a job that would have made me miserable. My best option at the time was to work full-time at the local supermarket. A friend of mine works at Blockbuster Video for the benefits even though he hates the job.

I’m not saying that people should stay at home, do nothing, and get free healthcare. However, I do think that people should be able to pursue their dreams without having to worry about which jobs come with benefits.

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