America Is Number One (At Obesity, STDs and Dying Young)...among wealthy, developed countries, that is. According to a study from the National Academy of Sciences, Americans are "far" unhealthier than their counterparts in Canada, Australia, Japan, Britain, France, Portugal, Italy and Germany and eight other countries. But just how bad is it?
Well, Americans ranked last (or first, depending on how you look at it) in infant mortality, injury and homicide rates, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, drug abuse, obesity and diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and disabilities. But don't worry, we managed all this while spending $8,600 a year per person on healthcare, which is more than twice as much Britain, France and Sweden, "even with their universal healthcare systems."
It is always amazing to me that the health care debate came from such ignorance, I suppose it shouldn't. But all those folks under 65 complaining about their taxes, don't seem to have any desire to notice that their health insurance premiums are disgusting. Maybe, just maybe, in return for paying say $3,000 a year more in taxes, you pay $5,000 less a year in health insurance premiums AND get better care.The problem, of course, is that our health care model is flawed. See, first off we have a for-profit model, in which the profits of the providers are higher if they provide customers less (= poorer) service. Their "natural" inclination for their shareholders is to keep costs down, maximize profits, etc.
Part of that cost control necessarily involves deny, deny, deny. The bride and I have 5 college degrees between us, yet whenever we read from our health care plan coverage manual, we come away with a glazed look in our eyes of incomprehension. It literally boggles the mind.
Then we have this vast middleman layer--the Blue Crosses of the world--that shuffle the papers associated with this admin support. To the tune of 20% overhead, while the admin costs of Medicare are amazingly low--around 2%.
Which is why many folks like me think Obamacare should just have said "Medicare for All" and we'd all be SO much better off.
And the mandatory connection to Ultrarunning? I tend to think that my active lifestyle tends to confer immunity to cardiovascular disease. Truth be told, I also suspect I'm less likely to to die of cancer.
But guess what? My probability of dying is still 100%. As is yours.
So even if my heart pumps well and faithfully, another malady will stop me dead in my tracks, if you'll excuse the phrase. My only hope is that my Ultra lifestyle will add years to my life...and not "junk" years added to the end, but quality years added NOW to the middle.
Note to self: do some investigation of life expectancy for runners to try to get a handle on this important question. So many questions, so little time....