Low Life Expectancy in the United States: Is the Health Care System at Fault?
Life expectancy in the United States fares poorly in international comparisons, primarily because of high mortality rates above age 50. Its low ranking is often blamed on a poor performance by the health care system rather than on behavioral or social factors. This paper presents evidence on the relative performance of the US health care system using death avoidance as the sole criterion. We find that, by standards of OECD countries, the US does well in terms of screening for cancer, survival rates from cancer, survival rates after heart attacks and strokes, and medication of individuals with high levels of blood pressure or cholesterol. We consider in greater depth mortality from prostate cancer and breast cancer, diseases for which effective methods of identification and treatment have been developed and where behavioral factors do not play a dominant role. We show that the US has had significantly faster declines in mortality from these two diseases than comparison countries. We conclude that the low longevity ranking of the United States is not likely to be a result of a poorly functioning health care system.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as “Low Life Expectancy in the United States: Is the Health Care System at Fault?” S.H. Preston and Jessica Ho. Pages 259 - 98 in International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources . Eileen Crimmins, Samuel Preston, and Barney Cohen, editors. 2011. National Academies Press . Washin gton, D.C. 2011|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003.
"Why Have Americans Become More Obese,"
2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Randall D. Cebul & James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor & Mark E. Votruba, 2008.
"Organizational Fragmentation and Care Quality in the U.S. Healthcare System,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 93-113, Fall.
- Randall D. Cebul & James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor & Mark Votruba, 2008. "Organizational Fragmentation and Care Quality in the U.S. Health Care System," NBER Working Papers 14212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2007.
"Vignettes and Self-Reports of Work Disability in the United States and the Netherlands,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 461-473, March.
- Kapteyn, A. & Smith, J.P. & van Soest, A.H.O., 2007. "Vignettes and self-reports of work disability in the United States and the Netherlands," Other publications TiSEM 17902a1e-7cbb-4f3f-a772-e, School of Economics and Management.
- Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Goldman, Dana P. & Lakdawalla, Darius N. & Zheng, Yuhui & Gailey, Adam H., 2009.
"International Differences in Longevity and Health and Their Economic Consequences,"
IZA Discussion Papers
4367, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- P.-C. Michaud & D. Goldman & D. Lakdawalla & A. Gailey & Y. Zheng, 2009. "International Differences in Longevity and Health and their Economic Consequences," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 254, McMaster University.
- Pierre-Carl Michaud & Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Adam Gailey & Yuhui Zheng, 2009. "International Differences in Longevity and Health and their Economic Consequences," NBER Working Papers 15235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 2006.
"Why Do Europeans Smoke More than Americans?,"
NBER Working Papers
12124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-210598 is not listed on IDEAS
- Alan M. Garber & Jonathan Skinner, 2008.
"Is American Health Care Uniquely Inefficient?,"
NBER Working Papers
14257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15213. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.