I was born in New York City, in The Bronx, I am an American. I studied abroad in London, England for four months, but I’ve never lived anywhere other than America. With this, like many Americans, I have the great privilege of taking a great big poo poo on this country. While it is much better to live in the U.S. than many, many other places – that doesn’t make us close to perfect. What’s annoying is the ego of plenty of citizens and government officials to still assert that we’re the best nation in the world. For whatever the reasons, and there are plenty, the U.S. is, at the very least, in a transitioning period from being less progressive, less equal, less – just less - compared to it’s post-industrialized nation, counterparts.
Here’s some new info on American healthy and healthcare, conducted by the National Academy of Sciences. Guess what? We’re #1! We’re #1! We’re #1!
The NRC and IoM, both parts of the National Academies of Science, provide advice to U.S. policymakers. The National Institutes of Health asked them to compare the health of Americans to people in Canada, Australia, Japan and 13 European countries including Britain, France, Portugal, Italy and Germany. Americans did worse in nine areas: infant mortality; injury and homicide rates; teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; the AIDS virus; drug abuse; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; lung disease; and disabilities.”
What was interesting is that young people seem to have it worse here. Dr. Steven Woolf, who worked on the project said, “I don’t think most parents know that, on average, infants, children, and adolescents in the U.S. die younger and have greater rates of illness and injury than youth in other countries.”
What was more – annoying, I guess – was the fact that Americans, individually, pay twice as much as people in other countries but are significantly less healthy.
“The latest report from the federal government shows Americans spent more than $8,600 a year per person on healthcare – more than twice what countries such as Britain, France and Sweden spend, even with their universal healthcare systems. Yet we don’t live any longer and we are not even healthier, the report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine finds.”
What’s disturbing, considering that there was another school shooting today is that Americans, “are seven times more likely to be murdered than people in the other countries, and 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun.” What the researchers attributed all this too was many prevailing factors but I think they hit the nail on the head when they noted that Americans aren’t interested in being told what to do. They – we – are willing to give up a whole lot of practicality, equality, and money just to be able to say that the government isn’t “intruding” or “infringing” on our freedom.
Woolf said, “We have a culture in our country … that cherishes personal autonomy and wants to limit intrusion of government and other entities upon our personal lives,” Woolf said. “Some of those forces may act against the ability to achieve optimal health outcomes.”
Mind you this is just in healthy and life expectancy – don’t even get me started on education and the prison system.