Falling US life expectancy: The product of a deliberate ruling class policy
9 February 2018
An editorial in a British medical journal has focused renewed attention on the shocking reality that life expectancy in the United States is declining. “Failing health of the United States: The role of challenging life conditions and the policies behind them,” published Wednesday in BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal, builds on reports in December by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that revealed US life expectancy declined in 2016 for the second year in a row.
The editorial’s authors, Steven H. Woolf and Laudan Aron, both sat on a joint panel of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine in 2013 that investigated US health disadvantage compared to other member countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). According to World Bank Data, the average life expectancy of an aggregate of 35 OECD countries stood at about 75.5 years in 1995. By 2015 the rate had risen to 80.3 years, while the US lagged behind at 78.7 years.
The editorial points to the myriad diseases and behaviors contributing to decreased lifespans in America, as well as to the social and economic factors driving them. The picture emerging is one of a society wracked by burgeoning social inequality, a catastrophic health crisis, and a government health policy aimed at deliberately lowering life expectancy while catering to corporate profit.
The opioid epidemic, alcohol abuse and suicides are leading causes of death in the US. The rate of fatal drug overdoses rose by 137 percent from 2000 to 2014. In 2015 alone, more than 64,000 people died from drug overdoses, exceeding the number of US fatal casualties in the Vietnam War. The suicide rate…