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US Life Expectancy May Have Peaked

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the so-lose-some-weight-and-eat-some-spinach dept.

Medicine 1053

Hugh Pickens writes "Live Science reports that although life expectancy in the United States has risen to an all-time high of 77.9 years in 2007 up from 77.7 in 2006, gains in life expectancy may be pretty much over, as some groups — particularly people in rural locations are already stagnating or slipping in contrast to all other industrialized nations. Hardest hit are regions in the Deep South, along the Mississippi River, in Appalachia and also the southern part of the Midwest reaching into Texas. The culprits — largely preventable with better diet and access to medical services — are diabetes, cancers and heart disease caused by smoking, high blood pressure and obesity. What the new analysis reveals is the reality of two Americas, one on par with most of Europe and parts of Asia, and another no different than a third-world nation with the United States placing 41st on the 2008 CIA World Factbook list, behind Bosnia but still edging out Albania. 'Beginning in the early 1980s and continuing through 1999 those who were already disadvantaged did not benefit from the gains in life expectancy experienced by the advantaged, and some became even worse off,' says a report published in PLoS Medicine by a team led by Harvard's Majid Ezzati, adding that 'study results are troubling because an oft-stated aim of the US health system is the improvement of the health of "all people, and especially those at greater risk of health disparities.'"

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Wowza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136467)

Ditto!!!

Wait, really? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136471)

Don't get me wrong - US health in general has its problems - but just after a new report indicates that life expectancy has reached an all time high (by a significant margin) we are asking whether or not it has peaked? Premature much?

Re:Wait, really? (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136713)

Indeed. Since we are 30th in life expectancy we have a LOT of room for improvement. My best friend Jim Dawson died in 1992 two weeks short of his 40th birthday. If he would have had health insurance, he'd be alive today, bringing up our life expectancy even (a very tiny bit) more. Multiply him by all the other people who have died from treatable diseases who had no health care, and it would go up a LOT. Both my parents are past today's life expectancy.

Note that the places where expectancy is low in the US is where there's the least chance of those poor folks having insurance? How is it a suprise that without health care you don't live as long?

Re:Wait, really? (1, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136893)

There were no charitable organizations or free clinics that he could have gone to? (doubtful) I also doubt that not having health care was the primary concern for this death. What was the cause?

Slashkos (1, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136477)

Ok, let me pee on everyone's parade and burn some karma.

> those who were already disadvantaged did not benefit from the
> gains in life expectancy experienced by the advantaged, and
> some became even worse off

Oh stop already with the politics. Stop with the infernal 'progressive' talking points and bringing class into everything. Simplify to this:

"Stupid people do stupid things that cause them to die sooner." Not that there aren't stupid people everywhere, but in America we still have the
right to be wrong to a much greater extent than the nanny states in Europe.

And since I'm burning karma anyway lemme toss another sacred cow onto the grill. Enough with this continual blather about the 'disadvantaged/poor/etc.' if you nitwits aren't going to deal with the actual problem. To a very high degree of correlation, the 'poor' aren't living in poverty because of a lack of money. They lack money because they have make poor lifestyle decisions that RESULT in a lack of money. Things like failure to get an education (or worse reject the value of knowledge entirely), become a single parent, waste money on substance abuse or Xbox... but I repeat myself.

Normally I wouldn't flame so hard but this entire article so reeks of slashkos politics I just couldn't hold back. Enough with the thinly disguised political stories outside the politics topic. Raise your hand if you actually think this was 'news for nerds' and not the DNC talking points being put into action.

I mean, seriously, take this bit:

> ..because an oft-stated aim of the US health system is the improvement
> of the health of "all people, and especially those at greater risk of
> health disparities.

WTF? I thought that was what the current argument was about, whether we were going to HAVE a single "US health system" or not. We currently don't
have a single system so how does this asshat ascribe policies to the current industry? The 'aim' of most of the people in the current semi
free market system is the same as any business. Balance customer (patient) service against earning a living.

Re:Slashkos (2, Funny)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136553)

I modded your post 'funny' by accident. Posting to undo.

Re:Slashkos (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136579)

You need to calm down before you give yourself a heart attack and drag the average down even more.

Re:Slashkos (5, Insightful)

ctid (449118) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136645)

There is not really much wrong with your analysis, but you should be aware that it is not just people who think differently to you who are arguing from a political perspective. The real question (and it is a question that I can't answer satisfactorily to myself) is what happens to the children of these "nitwits"? The fact is that if a kid is brought up in a household where the adults are not able to look after themselves properly, are the kids more likely to grow up like the adults in their lives? That's the difficulty; you and I and lots of other people are brought up right, we get education as to what is healthy and what is not. But these kids (ie the children of the nitwits) don't get that opportunity. We can dismiss the parents for being nitwits (but remember they may also have been brought up in an unhealthy household) but can we so easily dismiss the children? I grew up in an old-fashioned liberal family. As I have grown older, my views have shifted and I take a slightly more conservative stance. But I cannot (and I hope I never will) dismiss the children of inadequate parents. Doing that is a step too far, in my opinion.

Re:Slashkos (1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136773)

"Think of the children."

Really? You're going with that?

Re:Slashkos (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136857)

The problem with the system in America is that it is designed to kick people when they are already down and then hold them there. People of all races and upbringings make mistakes. The American system is much more unforgiving to those who get caught making mistakes.

This [insidehighered.com] , for example, and ridiculous bank overdraft fee policies among others.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Slashkos (4, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137023)

So when do we start rounding up the children of disadvantage parents and where will we put them so they can be raised to your high standards? Or do we rewrite the rules of the world to make sure those children are taken care of to your high caliber of lifestyle? What incentive do their parents have to give a damn if their kids will be cared for no matter what way they are raised? What incentives are given to parents who control their reproductive urges, but would normally be able to care for those children?

Have you ever seen Idiocracy?

Re:Slashkos (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137061)

I absolutely agree with you, and if the Democrats made as their goal, to "Help the homeless, help the poor, and rehabilitate the felons who never learned how to adjust to normal life in the first place and thus turned to crime" they would get a lot of support, and they'd definitely have mine. Instead they get into power, and what exactly is their goal? To insure everyone? Or is it to have the government take over the US health care system? Is their goal to help the poor, or is it to hurt the rich?

From my perspective, both republicans and democrats have a good side: the republicans want to empower the individual citizen and free him from the limitations of government, and the democrats want to help the poor and downtrodden. These are both noble goals.

But somehow in practice, these both seem to be forgotten. And it's the American public that gets hurt, by both sides.

Re:Slashkos (2, Insightful)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136657)

Good Post. I know of several people who whine and piss and moan about how bad their lives are and how poor they are but their spending habits are horrible and they made horrible spending decisions. Then they bitch about a 50 dollar doctors office visit because they have a cheapo insurance policy. Of course after the doctors appointment they drive home in new car they bought on credit so they can sit on their fat asses and play X-box 360 games till midnight.

Then there is me, who I scrimp and save even though I don't "Have to". I own my car, lock stock and barrel because I bought a used car. I own my own residence because I scrimped and saved so I could get a decent down payment on it and scrimped some more to pay it off ahead of time. I buy generic food at the grocery store and take other cost cutting measures. I don't buy expensive clothes and don't have an alcohol or drug habit.

I don't mind subsidizing someone who is missing a leg or arm or is paralyzed. What I don't like is subsidizing people which have a problem with the area between their ears. If someone in government could come up with a good mechanism to sort out the truly disadvantaged folks from the idiots who make dumbass decisions then i could get behind such a plan to pay for the people who are disadvantaged. Until then Capitol hill can go pound sand.

Re:Slashkos (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136875)

So peripheral nervous system problems are OK; but central nervous system problems aren't.

Got it.

Re:Slashkos (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136929)

If someone in government could come up with a good mechanism to sort out the truly disadvantaged folks from the idiots who make dumbass decisions then i could get behind such a plan to pay for the people who are disadvantaged.
 
I've got this little theory that when my state decided to stop paying for good mental health institutions to lock up the mentally ill, the number of idiots who make dumbass decisions exploded.
 
Might I make a suggestion that somebody with "a problem with the area between the ears" is just as disabled as the guy missing an arm or a leg- and needs to be treated as such?
 
Funny thing is, if we did that- if we treated mental problems as vigorously as we treat physical problems- the number of single parents and idiots going home to drink and play XBox all night would probably go down drastically.

Mod up (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136671)

I was going to post on this article, but I think you've said it all.

I expect your post will be highly rated for the actual duration of this discussion, but will probably suddenly drop to "0, Troll" in about three days.

Re:Slashkos (1, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136687)

Nice Rant. Now how do you respond to the following:

Studies have shown that poor neighbourhoods are statistically "underserved" compared to wealthier neighbourhoods when it comes to food options. Meaning, there are fewer grocers or supermarkets, and those stores that do exist stock more highly processed and unhealthy foods. Kinda tough to follow food guidelines when you can't even buy the elements of a healthy diet.

How is being born into a crime-ridden neighbourhood with shitty schools and no meaningful employment a "lifestyle choice"? You plunk any family into one of America's more notorious slums and let's see how those kids turn out.

Re:Slashkos (0)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136809)

Healthier options are not served/stocked because of low demand.

Re:Slashkos (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136913)

The demand for healthier options in low-income areas is low because healthier options are too expensive for them to afford. The highly processed nutrition-poor food is FAR cheaper than the whole-grain fresh-vegetable healthy stuff.

Re:Slashkos (1)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136709)

To a very high degree of correlation, the 'poor' aren't living in poverty because of a lack of money. They lack money because they have make poor lifestyle decisions that RESULT in a lack of money. Things like failure to get an education (or worse reject the value of knowledge entirely), become a single parent, waste money on substance abuse or Xbox... but I repeat myself.

I'm not going to disagree across the board, but some of the rural areas mentioned in the summary are a whole different world. There are places in this country where even basic things like clean water can't be taken for granted and in those specific areas people are poor because they were born poor and live somewhere poor.

Could they move, and take advantage of various student loan programs to go to school and better themselves? Yes, but they're in such an alien environment that that's not seen as an option. Ask someone why they live in a dead and rotting mining town (often with no mine any longer) and they'll tell you it's because they're taking care of some family member. That family member stayed for the same reason.

This extends into the cities somewhat as well, but at some point I have to admit total ignorance since I'm not an expert in any of this.

Plus, you know, bad choices and drugs and whatever too.

Re:Slashkos (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136717)

Because it's going to come up, I want to mention that the biggest criticism of the US health care system is often that the US has lower life expectancies (thus trying to imply that the US health care system is not as good). This is a non-sequitur, if you really dig into the numbers, you will find that the main reason for lowered life expectancies is obesity. Here is a report. [bc.edu] Check the graphs, only Greece rivals the US in plumpness.

Another common criticism is that the US has high infant mortality rates. This is likely because of premature babies, which aren't always counted in infant mortality rates in other countries. If you are planning on having a baby prematurely, the US is a good place to do it (but please don't plan on that).

There are a lot of problems with the US health care system, for example, it is hard to get insurance if you have a pre-existing condition, the cost of malpractice lawsuits (and other things) drives up costs, not everybody has insurance (although we end up paying for them anyway when they go to the emergency room: no one can be turned away without treatment, which is good), but shouldn't we try to solve the real problems that are in the system, instead of trying to rewrite the whole thing from scratch? There are relatively simple solutions to all these problems, and as any programmer knows, drastically changing the structure of your program is only going to introduce more problems.

Re:Slashkos (5, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136889)

Ya know, that was my biggest problems with Sicko. Moore is throwing out all the numbers about spending per capita, highest incidences of diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, etc., and blames it on the health care system but misses an obvious cause of all of this; obesity. Obesity causes more health problems, and as a result more spending. But of course, Moore wouldn't say that, because now instead of blaming the big, bad corporations and government, he would be asking his viewers to take some personal responsibility (which seems to be a progressive idea). Our country isn't sick because of health care, it's sick because we're fat.

Re:Slashkos (3, Informative)

pnuema (523776) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137049)

And we are fat because the least expensive foods are all terrible for you, thanks to subsidizes to big agriculture.

Re:Slashkos (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136967)

Regarding "US health care system," I think it's pretty instructive to ask the question - where do people go when they want the best health care. As in, the best that money can buy... not cheap, but the best. As far as I know, that is still typically the US, and some scattered specialists around (UK, Japan...). But if you're talking about the best, newest research, etc... universities in the US tend to be where it's happening, apparently.

Re:Slashkos (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137017)

This is a non-sequitur, if you really dig into the numbers, you will find that the main reason for lowered life expectancies is obesity
 
Ok, here's why that is a health care problem- in most single-payer nations, they'd take an obese person, put them into an intense diet program, and treat the problem just like alcoholism. Here in the United States, it's an "individual lifestyle choice" which will get you denied insurance and any coverage whatsoever.
 
I too would like to see incremental changes- but none of those are likely to pass either- because somebody is making money off of the status quo. And that's what it really comes down to.

Re:Slashkos (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136737)

Idiot!

To a very high degree of correlation, the 'poor' aren't living in poverty because of a lack of money. They lack money because they have make poor lifestyle decisions that RESULT in a lack of money.

So someone who's born into a poor family made a poor lifestyle decision? Gee, I guess people should choose better parents.

People born into poverty don't have the same access to all the good things - like healthy diets, etc. Parents scrimp even on essentials because they're poor, not because they want to.

Things like failure to get an education

Education is no guarantee of a well-paying job - the ability to BS, and an innate streak of dishonesty, have been better rewarded over the last couple of decades. There are well-educated people who, through no fault of their own, are out of a job. It's the economy, stupid! Or is everyone who is unemployed just a lazy, shiftless don't-wanna-know slob in your book?

And then there's the "shit happens" stuff. For example, recent studies have shown that it can take up to 2 DECADES for both sexes to recover economically from a divorce, and that even after "recovery" they never make up all the lost income. So they didn't have a crystal ball - they should stay in a bad marriage because it means they'll have more money? Sure, the kids might eat a bit better, but the fighting is also detrimental to their health.

There ARE two Americas in the United States, and this study goes to show how it impacts on health, including longevity.

"Stupid people do stupid things that cause them to die sooner." Not that there aren't stupid people everywhere, but in America we still have the right to be wrong to a much greater extent than the nanny states in Europe.

Riiiight - McDonalds are banned in Europe, as are all fast foods, drugs, booze and tobacco, and all American culture. Except they're not. The higher death rates are from two things - guns and a lack of a comprehensive health-care system. Until the housing crisis, the #1 cause of bankruptcy was medical bills, and 74% of all those had medical insurance. The high cost of co-pays, and the insurance carriers weaseling out of paying for coverage to make a profit, meant that they had to go broke. So much for for-profit health care.

Re:Slashkos (5, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136979)

Ya know, i'd agree with a lot of your post, but to say the higher death rates are due to guns and lack of health care, that's idiotic. What about our obesity problem, which is causes by diet and lack of exercise (in most cases)? If people took care of their body then they wouldn't need to see the doctor's all the damn time. Would universal health care be nice, sure. But how about we take some personal responsibility and take care of ourselves (oh wait, progressives like placing the blame somewhere else). We don't do that, health care costs will keep increasing due to heart attack, diabetes, etc.

Re:Slashkos (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136747)

My hand remains firmly down.

Why is this shit (and it is shit - there are many problems with it, and you described a few) on slashdot?

Re:Slashkos (1)

strikeleader (937501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136833)

BULLSEYE!!!!!!!!

Re:Slashkos (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136849)

And one of those stupid things, apparently, is to be too poor for health insurance. [familiesusa.org] .

And yes, at one point long ago, back probably before you were born, the United States used to pride itself on being the longest average lifespan in the world.

Finally, not everybody has the chance to "get an education" that you did. Not everybody was taught how to make "good lifestyle decisions". And even if they were- Americans over the past 40 years have been basically thrown out with the trash, including nerds.

Re:Slashkos (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137009)

If people weren't so fat, maybe our life expectancy would start increasing again and our instances of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, etc., would drop. That is (for the most part) controllable

Re:Slashkos (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136859)

it should be noted that nothing factual you stated conflicts with the summary or the story - you just don't think it's a bad thing. OK, fine. If it's true that life expectancy in the US is peaking, that is an interesting, objective observation. If you want to make the case that's a good thing because you think most people are inherently dumb and deserve to die, go ahead. But don't claim it's not newsworthy, or is nothing but politics.

Re:Slashkos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136877)

I hope you get cancer.

Re:Slashkos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136915)

this is a extreme social darwinian position you take here. What is really interesting in the current debate about the american healthcare, is that you put yourself on the "religious" camp, those that defend their position by saying they are on gods side (thats what republicans do, don't they?)

Just wanted to point that out (i'm a atheist by the way, but reject every form of a social darwin based society)

drudge-dot? (4, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136919)

Oh stop already with the politics

Yeah, you'll show em when you get political on the matter!

"Stupid people do stupid things that cause them to die sooner." Not that there aren't stupid people everywhere, but in America we still have the right to be wrong to a much greater extent than the nanny states in Europe.

So then are you saying that anyone who makes less money than you is inherently stupid in comparison to you?

Enough with this continual blather about the 'disadvantaged/poor/etc.' if you nitwits aren't going to deal with the actual problem.

Then kindly enlighten us 'nitwits', if you could.

To a very high degree of correlation, the 'poor' aren't living in poverty because of a lack of money.

Really? I don't know where you live, but I haven't heard of many people who are born into families with money and then end up broke.

They lack money because they have make poor lifestyle decisions that RESULT in a lack of money.

Which is ignoring the fact that some good decisions require money...

Things like failure to get an education

That is an excellent example of one. If you are in a poor family, you might not even have access to enough credit for student loans.

Though even more so, if we want to talk about health care (which most reasonable people would agree has at least some correlation to life expectancy), we should note the relationship between health care and education:

If you want a higher education:

  • You need insurance
  • Which requires a job
  • Which requires time
  • Which impedes on study time

Hence many people of lower income status are stuck in failure spirals. While providing them with health care may not be enough to get them out, it should at least be able to help some people, both from that classification and others.

Normally I wouldn't flame so hard but this entire article so reeks of slashkos politics I just couldn't hold back. Enough with the thinly disguised political stories outside the politics topic. Raise your hand if you actually think this was 'news for nerds' and not the DNC talking points being put into action.

Were you not reading yesterday when a conservative opinion got made the slashdot front page [slashdot.org] and lead to a conservative orgy in the discussion?

But don't worry, there may be some conservatives running around with left-over mod points who will mod your post up to +5 just as they did with several from other conservative authors yesterday.

I thought that was what the current argument was about, whether we were going to HAVE a single "US health system" or not

Perhaps you haven't been reading the news? Congress gave up on single payer health care at least a full month ago. It won't happen in this congressional session, period. Really the discussion now is just on how much the democrats will fold on any sort of change whatsoever; will they fold like a nice origami piece (perhaps a swan or a dove would be nice), or completely down like a lawn chair (to be stuffed away for the indefinite future in someone's garage)?

Re:Slashkos (2, Insightful)

nyvalbanat (1393403) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136935)

Can you see the vicious circle where lack of healthcare and education leads to new generations of poorly educated people with little access to healthcare? Alternately, can you explain how you would have done differently if you happened to be born to a single parent in those poor areas?

Slashrush (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136943)

To a very high degree of correlation, the 'poor' aren't living in poverty because of a lack of money. They lack money because they have make poor lifestyle decisions that RESULT in a lack of money.

Yes, like choosing parents who are alcoholics and drug addicts. Like choosing to be brought up in homes where there are no books. Like choosing to be brought up by people with no connections to wealth. Like choosing to live in the ghetto with horrible teachers imprisoned in decaying schools with no school supplies.

YOU, sir, are the problem. YOU, sir, are the reason these folks are "Stupid" (your word).

become a single parent

Or are brought up by one, or worse, in a foster home.

waste money on substance abuse

Or are brought up by meth addicts and crackheads. There but for the grace of God goes YOU, and you should thank whatever deity you do or don't believe in that you weren't brought up under these circimstances. If you had been, you would now be as dirt poor as they, and you'd likely be smoking crack instead of getting drunk on fine wine and your own ignorant vanity.

Re:Slashkos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136971)

Why do facts hate America?

Re:Slashkos (1)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136993)

If I had mod points I would give them all to you. Very good post.

Re:Slashkos (5, Insightful)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137025)

Oh God....

I would fully reply to your trolling but I just don't have the energy to do it right now.

Life expectancy and infant mortality are used quite often to compare the relative health of different countries. I will quote from the article.

Though the United States has by far the highest level of health care spending per capita in the world, we have one of the lowest life expectancies among developed nations â" lower than Italy, Spain and Cuba and just a smidgeon ahead of Chile, Costa Rica and Slovenia, according to the United Nations. China does almost as well as we do. Japan tops the list at 83 years.

You are bitching that this post is right from the Democratic party talking points. I would ask you, how is it that we pay more for health care "per capita" (that means per person, since you trolls often fail to understand things) yet have a lower life expectancy that fucking CUBA?

It seems to me that when your health care system is that inefficient, the common sense thing to do is fix it. Yet the idea to try and fix an obviously broken health care system is denounced as DNC talking points.

There are poor and disadvantaged in every country, and people in every country in the world make bad decisions, like substance abuse or an XBOX?!? (I didn't know the XBOX played a major role in our health care woes, but whatever.)
The point is that every country has its disadvantaged, yet America's disadvantaged are further disadvantaged by bad health care. And everyone in America pays higher prices per person for health care. Even those perfect people like you who don't make bad decisions.

This IS news for nerds, and it is a valid science article about health. It is a serious problem, and trolling it won't make your Republican talking points any more true.

Re:Slashkos (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137041)

..bringing class into everything.

And why not? Regardless of your political leanings, class is a very important discussion. As in, it is widely recognized that the basis to a prospering society is a broad and stable middle class. Do you know how you build a middle class? Mostly by economic and fiscal policies that protect a middle class.

Human history refutes the notion that middle classes just spring up out of nowhere and are self-sustaining. Your world view then experiences an irreconcilable collision with remarkably consistent social organization of extremes. Extreme wealth and extreme poverty with a very tenuous middle-ground and dictatorial government systems

Simplify to this: "Stupid people do stupid things that cause them to die sooner.
That costs me and you lot of fscking money! How can you possibly support that position? No, instead lets hijack a legitimate discussion with political nonsense.

Please, don't shift the topic away from these two points. No new details. No new facts are necessary.

McDonald's declares victory (1, Troll)

Snotman (767894) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136487)

They have stopped human aging from getting older before it blows up an economy with useless old people. Isn't this part of the US overhaul in health care - get rid of the old and sick because they are holding the herd back?

Re:McDonald's declares victory (2, Funny)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136677)

The key is to extend the amount of work you can squeeze out of a person before they finally keel over.

Eh, who cares (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136503)

Seems like it's going downhill in all the heavily Republican parts of the country. They're human garbage anyway.

Re:Eh, who cares (0, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136629)

> Seems like it's going downhill in all the heavily Republican parts of the country. They're human garbage anyway.

Folks in red states might die a few years sooner but we are outbreeding you blue folk. If we had the time we could win the Freedom vs. Socialism battle purely on birth rates. But alas.

Hint: gays don't reproduce even if they play like they are married.

Re:Eh, who cares (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136679)

The troll bait is strong in this post.

Re:Eh, who cares (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136739)

It's not even good troll bait. It's like the worst of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity rolled into some huge conglomerate of even bigger fail.

Re:Eh, who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136681)

Keep telling yourselves that. You wingnut freaks are gonna lose all the major social and political battles in the next couple decades.

Man, it's gonna be so great to send you guys to the re-education camps. I'll personally beat you extra.

Re:Eh, who cares (2, Informative)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136777)

I know the AC was trolling but Republicans on average have higher SES (socioeconomic status) than Democrats do (Subramanian, S. V., & Perkins, J. M. (2009). Are republicans healthier than democrats? International Journal of Epidemiology, doi:10.1093/ije/dyp152). Sure, people who live in rural areas tend to be Republican, but people who live in inner-cities tend to be Democrats. As the article I referenced shows, Republicans actually tend to be a little healthier than Democrats (related more to SES than anything else).

Don't tell Kurzweil (3, Funny)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136505)

That guys gonna be pissed he won't actually be able to live forever.

USA! USA! USA! (3, Insightful)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136507)

Just remember, the USA is better at everything. Why? Because!

Don't ever question that or you'll be a traitor. Why try to change what is already perfect?

Re:USA! USA! USA! (0, Flamebait)

antibryce (124264) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136699)

no no no...you're only a traitor if you oppose universal health care (or anything else on the progressive agenda.)

Otherwise dissent is patriotic.

Re:USA! USA! USA! (0, Troll)

MichaelDelving (546586) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136995)

I don't know what you self-named conservatives sit around smoking as you dream up these ridiculous strawmen, but, if I may speak for all liberals and progressives, we never slandered your patriotism. It seems you are projecting your own tendencies upon us. It does not make you a traitor to oppose universal health care. It just reveals that you are an ignorant jackass.

Re:USA! USA! USA! (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136887)

Sorry, hand in your liberal card. That was the party-line during the Bush years. Now that democrats are in power, it is Un-American [examiner.com] to oppose health care reform (according to Nancy Pelosi, anyway), and if you do, then you are an evil-monger [elynews.com] . That is according to Harry Reid.

It's as if the debate turned from trying to help poor people who are uninsured into some weird debate over I don't even know what. I seriously look at it and have no clue exactly what problem the Democrats are trying to solve. If anyone else has an idea, please say it. As for me, it's enough to make me vote Green Party.

Re:USA! USA! USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136951)

I do vote Green. Do it for America, because the dems and GOP both are outrageously corrupt.

How about doing a impassionate appraisal (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137047)

and THEN deciding, or does that sound un-American?

Re:USA! USA! USA! (3, Insightful)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137059)

As soon as someone starts talking about those damn Democrats or those damn Republicans I know there will be no sensible discussion following.
How about which policies and which initiates you think have merit, which need tweaking, and which are bad ideas, irregardless of which clique is pushing it through the propaganda machines?

To myself, someone without strong ties to either political party, I see two groups who are almost identical. They use very similar strategies, similar ways of using their power, similar ways of blocking and discrediting the other party and any initiatives of the other party no matter how good or bad they may be. Both parties spout crazy rhetoric designed to appeal to certain people's greed and insecurity. They just have chosen different people to court.

I have voted Republican and Democratic in local and national elections depending on which candidate and which issue I felt was better. I HATE this idea that you are "with us or against us." It ruins all sensible progress in politics.

what? (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136511)

an oft-stated aim of the US health system is the improvement of the health of "all people, and especially those at greater risk of health disparities."

[citation needed]

The "US health system" has a stated aim? I thought the aim was to maximize the profits of the insurance companies, which we know can only be done by denying health care to those at greater risk. Where, exactly, is this stated?

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136623)

we know can only be done by denying health care to those at greater risk.

[citation needed]

or at least some thought. They make money buy making healthcare cheaper. There are many more ways than you choose to mention, but hey, enjoy your talking points. Say hi to the rest of your royal "we".

Re:what? (4, Informative)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137035)

I know I shouldn't reply to trolls, but... If your medical expenses for a year exceed $35,000 (not hard to do at all), your chance of having your health insurance canceled retroactively is 50% [tauntermedia.com] . That link helps explain some of the math, but the testimony it is based is in the public record from the recent House hearings on rescission (the retroactive cancellation of individual health insurance policies).

Source: CDC = US health system? (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137005)

Apparently the quote is from the CDC website [cdc.gov]

uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136551)

smoking and not exercising is bad for your life expectancy! news at 11!

Are you telling me ... (1, Flamebait)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136557)

... that we're going to spend over 1 trillion dollars on health care reform and our life expectancy is going to decrease?!?!?

Re:Are you telling me ... (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136731)

Life expectancy had better decrease. According to the Social Security Administration, [ssa.gov]

Social Security's financing problems are long term and will not affect today's retirees and near-retirees for many years, but they are very large and serious. People are living longer, the first baby boomers are nearing retirement, and the birth rate is lower than in the past. The result is that the worker-to-beneficiary ratio has fallen from 16.5-to-1 in 1950 to 3.1-to-1 today. Within 20 years it will be 2.1-to-1. At this ratio there will not be enough workers to pay scheduled benefits at current tax rates.

Death Panels are making sense (0, Troll)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136883)

Now it's all coming together! The Health Care Reform will end up saving money by decreasing our life expectancy. The Death Panels are making sense now.

You Bet It's Peaked (5, Funny)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136561)

Just wait until government Death Panels start pulling the plug on Grandmas!

Re:You Bet It's Peaked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136891)

Death expectancy remains at 100%.

Bummer (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136583)

That's a bummer, man.

CDC Data for Obesity (3, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136595)

When you look at the 20 year trend chart for obesity in the United States [cdc.gov] , it's clear that there's going to be repercussions. It's appalling what has happened. The cost of obesity isn't going to manifest right away, but over the next two decades, it's going to hit the mortality rate hard. And to think that people fear disease but don't seem to be doing too much about preventable self-inflicted health problems.

Best health care system in the world! (4, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136599)

Or maybe not. Maybe only 37th.

Seriously, the way the insurance companies are sabotaging health care reform what we need is what I call the nuclear health care reform option. Maybe something like along the line of if reform doesn't pass:

1) All members of congress that blocked it must pay for their own health insurance out of their own pockets. No more public health care for them like most of them currently have through their Congressional pay and benefits package..

2) No more bonuses or stock options for the top tiers of insurance company execs as long as they deny insurance to people. And cap their pay at 100K per year and force them to pay for their health benefits out their own pocket. No health benefits as part of their compensation. They have to purchase their own plans.

If they pull the trigger and kill reform, then we should pull the trigger on them. Mutually Assured Destruction.

The only health care program that really works is the single payer option.

Liberal Buzzwords (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136609)

LOLOL "Two Americas"

Yea, I remember that line too.... Hey where is John Edwards now? That's right, cheating on his dying wife.

Re:Liberal Buzzwords (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136675)

Hold on there. She was in remission!

Greatest Health Care System EVA (1)

VeeCee (693453) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136613)

All I can say is thank god we have so many people fighting against health care reform. Sure, the people with the 3rd world life expectancy might have access to preventitive health care that could bring them up to par with the dreaded Europe, but is it really worth giving in to Obama's death panel nazi plan just to save a few hundred thousand American lives??

Ironic? (1, Insightful)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136617)

Does anyone else see it as slightly ironic that the average life expectancy appears to be lower in the more rural areas, like the Deep South, Appalachia, and Texas? In other words, solid red state [wikipedia.org] territory. And, they say that other parts (the blue states?) are on par with most of Europe. So, in other words, for the most part, the folks that are more in favor of health care reform are living longer than the people that are staunchly against it. Maybe we should just let the red states die off and that would solve a whole host of other problems! ;-)

Re:Ironic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136707)

The problem with that is that stupid people tend to have more kids sooner. Instead of helping the situation, leaving them alone would let them multiply like rabbits :S

Re:Ironic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136805)

What's ironic (aside from rain on your wedding day) is that people keep talking about "red states and blue states" even though the entire idea is bullshit.

Re:Ironic? (4, Funny)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136843)

But at least they die free.

obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136639)

The 'two Americas' comment in the article, I've been saying exactly this for years. I have a theory that the population of a given area is inversely proportional to its level of education and healthcare and directly proportional to its crime rate and minority percentage. It's not the availability of these things that matter, which is why socalized healthcare will fail, its the proximity to old-family, old-money, old-history americans, who are all white.

Next up, how helping minorities is showing diminishing returns, and they never really 'caught up' to whitey. Money well spent.

Drill! Drill! Drill! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29136641)

Use the same solution to our peak oil problems.

Mandate an IRS prostate exam when you file your taxes and proof of medical insurance.

Third World America (3, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136651)

Large portions of the low life expectancy part of America also take in close to 20% more federal funds than they put into the system. If you've ever stopped off at a gas station between New Orleans and Atlanta on I-10, you'd know how low the standard of living is there. We're talking large swaths of the states in that area with average incomes barely breaking the $20,000 mark. In defense of Texas, the portion they're talking about is between Beaumont and Texarkana, right on the border, bleeding into the Tyler/Longview area. Houston/Dallas/Austin have some of the highest standards of living (and lowest cost of living) in the country.

Along The Mississippi? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136659)

I suspect people in some [wikipedia.org] cities [wikipedia.org] might be surprised to hear that their life expectancies are going down. After all they've had high literacy rates, above-average educational systems, and even higher-than-average rates of medical coverage for years. Granted, when those pesky bridges fall into the river after years of neglect that might not help the life expectancy rate much...

SOCIALISM! (4, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136703)

I Want My Country Back! Death Panels! Death Panels! Death Panels!

*ahem*

Sorry, I've been watching too much tv...

life expectancy and health (1, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136749)

hat the new analysis reveals is the reality of two Americas, one on par with most of Europe and parts of Asia, and another no different than a third-world nation with the United States placing 41st on the 2008 CIA World Factbook list, behind Bosnia but still edging out Albania

How much of that is due to homicides? How much is due to car accidents? The study does not seem to control for these factors. It's pretty much rubbish. How much of that is due to selection bias ?

I too can take the distribution of age at death, cut it in half and argue that the lower part's age expectancy is dramatically lower than the upper half.

People doing these studies are quite often bozos which start from the answer (we need socialism and redistribution) and work backward.

Silly (1, Troll)

Oak1 (1234494) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136753)

No "health care system" is going to be able to overcome the human propensity to make unhealthy lifestyle choices unless it forces people to bear the costs of those choices themselves.

Re:Silly (1)

ductonius (705942) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136981)

The healthcare systems and the relative health of virtually every developed nation on the planet show that people will make healthy lifestyle choices even when healthcare is provided at no cost to them. Do you think living with chronic disease is not bearing the cost of the choices that led to it?

USA vs Europe (5, Interesting)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136775)

Here [blogspot.com] is a comparison of life expectancies between the US and Europe.

For unadjusted life expectancy, the U.S. ranks #14 out of 16 countries, but for the adjusted standardized life expectancy, (adjusted for the effects of premature death resulting from non-health-related fatal injuries) the U.S. ranks #1.

Uh, yeah. (4, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136797)

gains in life expectancy may be pretty much over

And nobody will EVER need more than 640K of RAM.

Forget the fact that things like the internet and the Human Genome project have lead to a flood of medical research, the likes of which we've never seen, that is bound to produce results.

Sorry, but that's about the most ridiculous statement Slashdot has posted today.

Good news!!! (1)

robi5 (1261542) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136823)

If the average life expectancy increased while it stagnated for some, then those who have benefited from the increase to life expectancy have experienced a higher increase to life expectancy than what the average increase suggests. How can it be anything other than good news?

Are you sure. (1)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136845)

US Life Expectancy May Have Peaked

Is that like saying the glass is half empty?

Wrong headline. (2, Insightful)

asteinmetz (994157) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136851)

Isn't the headline wrong? How can "gains in life expectancy may be pretty much over" if the "The culprits [are] largely preventable." On the contrary, the headline should be "Large Gains in Life Expectancy Still Possible." I'll leave the politics and policy aside but "preventable" means preventable.

1st world "poverty" (4, Insightful)

MrLogic17 (233498) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136863)

Let me get this straight- in the US, our lowest classes are so well fed, with so many calories, that they become overweight. Because they are poor, they can't afford to lose weight.

Astounding. In many other countries, the poor starve to death.

We're so rich that even the poorest of our poor is suffering from over-abundance.

Every American should take a trip to a real 3rd world country at lease once in their lifetime. It would solve a lot of the entitlement issues we have.

Re:1st world "poverty" (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137015)

Being well fed isn't just a matter of how many calories you take in...

Peaked? (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136905)

I don't see why this wouldn't be a figure that would fluctuate up and down depending on what's going on in the world. Just because it goes up for a long time, and then takes a dip, doesn't mean that it's only going to go down from here out.

Always look at the bright side. (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136923)

This might mean all those calculations projecting imminent bankruptcy of social security will have to be redone. If people are not going to live as long as they do now, there will be that much reduced pressure on the social security trust fund. Couple it with stalling the insurance reform, make healthcare more expensive, and bump another 45 million more Americans off health insurance. That way we can bring down the number of people getting on to the social security benefits and the duration also will be cut. So looks like all these problems are self correcting and they will solve themselves. Of course we may not like the way the problems solve themselves and we might personally get the short end of the stick too. But we at least know how the problems are going to solve themselves.

Two Americas (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136931)

When I read that, I assumed that they must be talking about North America and South America. I mean, nobody is stupid enough to call the United States Two Americas, right? Wrong..

Rust belt and gutting of manufacturing (3, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136939)

Being poor is most likely to shorten your life expectancy and we have gutted most of the manufacturing in our rural communities. I suspect this has more to do with these areas life expectancy than government funding, education or anything else.

Yawn (0, Redundant)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 5 years ago | (#29136991)

Sounds like yet another political-statement-masked-as-science story.

I'm done reading. Moving on to the next story.

so just answer the question! (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137001)

do i need to "make this a large for 49 cents extra" or not!? i mean, there are kids in china starving to death who would gladly take the melty stuff left in the bottom of my mcflurry cup.

but thats why my jazzy chair comes with a cup holder, damnit.

It's about shitty choices (0, Troll)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 5 years ago | (#29137013)

There's always a lot of political hay to be made out of comparisons of this or that factor of American life to "3rd world country" quality. The unstated (or baldly stated) point being: why can't the world's wealthiest country take care of its underclass better? Why can't it be improved (and, in a pointed comment toward conservatives/Republicans who tend to oppose such 'improvements' wholesale), why are you so heartless?

This is, in my experience, particularly baffling to Europeans who live with a social support system generally unparalleled in the modern world.

Here's the secret: it's about CHOICE, and the consequences of your decisions.

Speaking generally, people in poverty are there because of some shitty life choice that they made along the way. Have a baby before age 18. Have a baby out of wedlock. Do drugs. Commit crime. Drop out of school. There are exceptions, but the HUGE majority of the chronic poor fall into one of these categories. And, born from the 'self-reliant' protestant ethic that founded the country, there used to be a cultural reluctance to help these 'free-riders' in any way.

(The only broad exception to this would be the poor little buggers BORN to parents who made similar crappy choices. They didn't really have any say in the matter, and their futures are pretty much doomed. Unfortunately, really the best situation for them would be to be taken AWAY from their stupid parent (generally there's only still one around) and put into a boarding school where they could get a good education without their biological role models; this is seen to be 'inhumane' in today's society, so instead we leave them to grow in a horrid environment, really just enabling the cycle to continue indefinitely.)

This is why the US has so many poor, and cares so little for them generally; starting with free public education through high school, it's been proven repeatedly that in the US you can become a success with simple hard work, determination, and self-discipline. You probably won't become rich, but you can work 2 jobs and build your child a better foundation from which THEY can climb, ultimately improving the lives of your grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. CHOOSING to live a life of narcissistic self-interest an immature egoism, why should I (the argument goes) help you with a damn thing?

uhhh, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29137051)

So on one hand this looks like it's talking about the failings of our health care system, and on the other hand it's saying that the problem is smoking and obesity.

So let me get this straight ... we need a better health care system to help people stop smoking and being fat? Or we need to improve the health care system to make it so that we can continue to smoke and be fat, plus live longer?

I think that gist of this article is that we have a lot of problems to work on irrespective of health care. Maybe that's how we should lower the costs of health care ... by fixing all the stupid things we do, such as smoking and eating things that we shouldn't.

No, I forgot, this wasn't about asking people to take their health into their own hands ... it's about letting them not worry about it anymore and just paying what it takes to help them, no matter how many cheeseburgers they eat a day, or packs of cigarettes they go through. We need to make sure that the people who spend $200 in cigarettes a month, and who can't afford health insurance, are covered! Might as well be my tax dollars doing it.

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