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Life Expectancy for Americans Has Decreased Despite Access to Health Care; G7 Countries Rates on the Rise

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Life Expectancy for Americans Has Decreased Despite Access to Health Care; G7 Countries Rates on the Rise

Edited by: TJVNews.com

Living to a ripe old age and enjoying family, friends and career has always been a dream for all Americans, but according to recent data shows that life expectancy rates for US residents has decreased.

According to a report in the New York Post, the United States once boasted of having one of the most prolonged life expectancy rates of all countries on Earth (including a number of self-governing microstates), ranking 13th overall as of 1950. According to experts, recent data has shown that the good health and access to good health care for Americans is rapidly declining, the Post reported.

According to current data, the US has since fallen 40 spots to the 53rd place among the 200 nations counted — below South Korea, Slovenia and Guadeloupe, to name just a few, the report indicated.

Life expectancy at birth in the United States declined nearly a year from 2020 to 2021, according to new provisional data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) that was published in August 2022. That decline – 77.0 to 76.1 years – took U.S. life expectancy at birth to its lowest level since 1996. The 0.9 year drop in life expectancy in 2021, along with a 1.8 year drop in 2020, was the biggest two-year decline in life expectancy since 1921-1923, the Centers for Disease Control reported in 2022.

The report produced by the CDC shows non-Hispanic American Indian-Alaskan Native people (AIAN) had the biggest drop in life expectancy in 2021 – 1.9 years. AIAN people had a life expectancy at birth of 65.2 years in 2021 – equal to the life expectancy of the total U.S. population in 1944. The CDC also reported that AIAN life expectancy has declined 6.6 years from 2019 to 2021.

Non-Hispanic white people in the United States had the second biggest decline in life expectancy in 2021 – one full year from 77.4 in 2020 to 76.4 in 2021. The CDC report also said that non-Hispanic Black people had the third biggest decline, a 0.7 year drop from 71.5 years in 2020 to 70.8 in 2021. Life expectancy at birth in 2021 was the lowest for both groups since 1995. After a large (4.0 year) drop in life expectancy from 2019 to 2020, Hispanic people in the U.S. had a slight decline in 2021 of 0.2 years to 77.6 years. Life expectancy for non-Hispanic Asian people also dropped slightly in 2021 – 0.1 years – to 83.5 years, the highest life expectancy of any race/ethnic group included in this analysis.

Dr. Jonathan Filippon, a lecturer at Queen Mary University of London on the politics of health systems, said in a public statement regarding a new UK-based report on life expectancy, that “both the UK and the US have been lagging behind” other high-income countries, the Post reported.

Flippon added that, “We do need to look at the predominant ideologies running at both nation states,” explaining that the “liberal approach” ushered in by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan “had disastrous consequences to their population’s levels of equality.”

The Post reported that the US still enjoys one of the most prosperous economies in the world, alongside Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom — a group known as the G7.

However, “while markets can continue to thrive in countries … they can also exacerbate inequalities as well,” Flippon said.

These wealthy nations are relied upon to lead the way when it comes to solving major world issues, particularly in terms of trade, security and climate change, the report stated.

But we’re trailing well behind our G7 counterparts when it comes to life expectancy, by more than 20 ranks at least. Since 1950, six of the seven G7 countries have added more than 12 years to their average life expectancy, including Japan widening the gap by more than 25 years, according to the Post report. Now, a Japanese citizen can reasonably hope to live for almost 85 years.

Despite Americans’ waning lifespans, we’re spending more on health care than a dozen other of the wealthiest countries, the Post reported. That’s due, in part, to the fact that the US is also the only high-income country that does not guarantee or provide free health care, according to research by nonpartisan think tank The Commonwealth Fund.

 

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