Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Crashing Life Expectancy in the United States

Who would have expected it?

I did.

In 2012, I wrote:
Why Life Expectancy Will Crash in the United States
It's coming. It will take some time before it shows up in the stats, but the socialization of medicine is going to have a dramatic impact on medical care---for the worse.
It doesn't matter what the Supremes rule on Obamacare. If they rule against it, it will just slow things down, but socialist thinking surrounds the medical industry, especially among the "big thinkers", the interventionist minded, central planning focused bioethisists.
And the sad news is that it is now only happening at the margins. It will get worse.



  1. Medical care has been successfully framed into two choices that are effectively the same. Crony capitalist medical care or socialized medical care. Both are about maximizing prices for the least amount of actual care. Trying to convince someone who believes in 'single payer' or similar schemes of how it will play out in the USA will be very different than in Europe doesn't seem to stick.

    Look at dialysis treatment in the USA to see how single payer will work here. Inferior treatment that was cost effective in the 1960s is effectively stuck in stone because of the revenue generated around it. Better treatments are known and the technology to deliver them for the same or less money exists but they don't make any money under the single payer rules. There's no financial reward for a higher quality of life and less complications and lower drug consumption and the treatment price can't be increased to move the profit there but still be net cheaper.

    That said medical care is only factor. The way people are worked in the USA and the food here also plays a big role. The USA is a country where non-corporate food is attacked by the government. Get big or get out as Earl Butz said.

  2. I'm against government run healthcare and central planning and central planners too but I think you're blaming declining life expectancy on the wrong thing here. There is literally a massive difference between Americans of 1980 and 2019. Figure 1 below shows adult obesity rates of approximately 13% at 1980 and and dramatically rising to 35% at 2006:
    For youths aged 12-19, looking at 1980 they were 5% overweight and at 2002 16% overweight:

    And fiat dollars to donuts says these numbers have surely gotten worse since then and will continue to get worse - so yes I agree life expectancy will continue to get drop as well.

    If you want to do an international comparison, see page 5 below:
    Japan is the least obese (3.7%) OECD country, France performs relatively well against other countries at 15.3%. Germany is 23.6% obese, UK 26.9%. The U.S. is number one in the race to the bottom at 38.2%. This alone explains the difference in the life expectancy rates. Figure 5 shows the projections of the rates through 2030 and again the US is leading the race to the bottom.

    Personal responsibility is what should be focused on here, not putting the blame on socialized healthcare. Of course there are things the government does that contributes negatively to individuals' waistlines. As a child of the 80s I was free to ride my bike around the neighborhood and play outside of home unsupervised and also walk/bike to school alone or with friends but nowadays that kind of thing will get the parents in trouble for "child endangerment" thanks to the nanny state. As an aside, in my personal experience American neighborhoods along beaches seem far more lax about letting children play unsupervised. If that's actually the case, it would be interesting to see what childhood obesity rates are among beach neighborhoods. But I know there would be other factors at play as well (wealthier people in general have better rates of obesity than the poor and also far more likely to be able to afford to leave in a beach neighborhood).