5 May 2006

Paul Krugman: Our Sick Society

Economist's View: Paul Krugman: Our Sick Society: "Paul Krugman stays with the topic of his last column, our health care system. In this column, he wonders why being American appears to be bad for your health:
Our Sick Society, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Is being an American bad for your health? That's the apparent implication of a study just published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
It's not news that something is very wrong with the state of America's health. ... But it isn't clear exactly what causes this stunningly poor performance. How much of America's poor health is the result of our failure, unique among wealthy nations, to guarantee health insurance to all? How much is the result of racial and class divisions? How much is the result of other aspects of the American way of life?
The new study ... doesn't resolve all of these questions. Yet it offers strong evidence that there's something about American society that makes us sicker than we should be.
The authors of the study compared the prevalence of such diseases as diabetes and hypertension in Americans 55 to 64 years old with ... a comparable group in England. Comparing us with the English isn't a choice designed to highlight American problems: Britain spends only about 40 percent as much per person on health care..., ... Moreover, England isn't noted either for healthy eating or for a healthy lifestyle.
Nonetheless, the study concludes that 'Americans are much sicker than the English.'... What's ... striking is that being American seems to damage your health regardless of your race and social class. That's not to say that class is irrelevant. ... In fact, there's a strong correlation within each country between wealth and health. But Americans are so much sicker that the richest thi"

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