Life expectancy in the US is now falling.

The quote?

  • For the first time in two decades, life expectancy has declined in the U.S. — a consequence of obesity and rising rates of eight leading causes of death, including heart disease, diabetes, dementia and opioid addiction
  • The decline in life expectancy is primarily caused by a rise in several categories of preventable deaths, highlighting the failure of the American health care system to properly address the root causes of chronic disease
  • Half of Americans are living with chronic illness, and the cost of health care now accounts for 17 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product

The sources?


My observations?

  • At 17% of GDP, health care is a big ticket item.  Huge.
  • My perspective about that big ticket item will reflect whether I am a consumer of those services, a provider, or a funder.  Each of us is probably at least the first and the last.  We might well be all three.
  • If we believe (to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson) that “The first wealth is health”, we personally will be making appropriate lifestyle choices that foster health, and these will have the effect of reducing our consumption of health care.  The majority however appear to be making other personal choices.
  • If I am a tax payer, or legislating on their behalf, I will be looking at both the cost of relevant public health initiatives, and their effectiveness.  The US federal budget for fiscal 2015 was $3.8 trillion.  Of that total, 27.4% was Medicare and health – putting it ahead of Military, and second only to Social security.
  • The evidence suggests ‘the failure of the American health care system to properly address the root causes of chronic disease’.  Think What we eat, What we drink, How we think, Whether we exercise.
  • If I am a provider of health care products or services, or what some have termed the illness industry, I might think of that 17% as a revenue line rather than a cost.