If Only The US Stopped Trying To Save Babies Our World Health Rankings Would Improve

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How depressing is this? It’s even more depressing when you think of who is running our country.

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The federally chartered Institute of Medicine issued a comprehensive report last month on the state of American health. Saying that “Other high-income countries outrank the United States on most measures of health,” the report concluded that the U.S. “is among the wealthiest nations in the world, but it is far from the healthiest.”

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To fix this state of affairs, the authors called on America’s leaders to consider “policies that countries with superior health status have found useful and that might be adapted for the United States.” But the institute’s report doesn’t tell the whole story. Its key measurements aren’t directly related to the quality of American health care. In truth, health care in the U.S. continues to be the envy of the world.

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There’s more, and it gets ghoulish.

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Another major gauge of health is infant mortality. As the report’s authors point out, the U.S. has the highest infant-mortality rate among high-income countries. Again, this isn’t a good indicator of the quality of the American health-care system. The elevated U.S. rate is a function of both the technological advancement of American hospitals and discrepancies in how different countries define a live birth.

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Doctors in the U.S. are much more aggressive than foreign counterparts about trying to save premature babies. Thousands of babies that would have been declared stillborn in other countries and never given a chance at life are saved in the U.S. As a result, the percentage of preterm births in America is exceptionally high—65% higher than in Britain, and about double the rates in Finland and Greece.

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Unfortunately, some of the premature babies that American hospitals try to save don’t make it. Their deaths inflate the overall infant mortality rate. But most premature babies are saved, largely because America’s medical research community is exceptionally innovative.

Read the whole thing if you can. I hate to say it, but I think our current leaders would be willing to sacrifice a few babies to increase our rankings in these bogus world polls. They’re also willing to sacrifice a few old people, so you senior citizens ought to make arrangements for alternate care if you can afford it.