Average life expectancy in the U.S. declined in 2017 for the fourth year in a row, which the Washington Post noted was the “longest sustained decline in expected life span at birth in a century, dating back to the global flu pandemic of 1915-1919 that killed 50 million people worldwide including 675,000 in the U.S.
A subsequent Vox report made the significant addendum to the data that the decline is concentrated among middle and low income Americans while life expectancy has actually increased for the richest Americans. That’s predictable for a system structured on ability to pay, not patient need.
The inequality also extends to race and gender. The rise in the uninsured rate, for example, is much higher among Latinos and African-Americans. Death rates linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, infant mortality, and HIV/AIDS at an early age are higher for African Americans than for whites, and Black women are three to four times more likely to die in child birth than are white women.
The most effective solution is not minor tweaks to the ACA, or any of the market-based proposals beloved by the conservative politicians and policy wonks which is the very reason for the crisis of a system even the ACA could not eliminate. It’s why public support for Medicare for All is swelling, and will surely be a major focus in the new year.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction