Thursday, January 10, 2013

Stop Bragging. We're last in Life Expectancy

I never should've opened up the New York Times today. The paper told me that we were last among 17 countries in life expectancy for those under 50. At one point, when the world was recovering from World War II, I guess we looked pretty good. Growing up, I was always told we had the best medical system in the world. Maybe it was true then, but it sure as hell isn't today.
The reasons Americans die is because of guns, car accidents and drug addiction. If anybody doesn't think that's really screwed up for such a rich country, you must be taking money from the Koch brothers.
These figures are significant. We rank at the lowest level out of 17 countries for life expectancy. The countries we were measured against included Canada, Japan, Australia and Germany. Maybe we should start measuring ourselves against Bangladesh so we could look better in the eyes of the world.
A paper by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council calls it the "American health disadvantage." I'd hope that our Congress would look at this closely, but only 9% of the American people think the people in the national legislature are worth anything. They posture, they promise, and they failed to get anything done. So I don't find any hope there.
Can we now stop talking about how we're the greatest country on earth. I love America and my family has been here 392 years. I don't want to live anyplace else. But people who care about this place have to get past the foolish rhetoric to help fix things.
Why do we have to tolerate drugs? Why do we have to have automatic weapons? Why do we let our kids drive drunk? Other countries seem to have the answer to these questions, but we'd just rather brag about ourselves, even if the truth behind the hoopla isn't there.

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