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Life Expectancy Up -- The U.S. Must Be Doing Something Right About Health

Posted Aug 28 2009 8:06pm

Americans are living longer than ever. News from the Centers for Disease Control:

U.S. life expectancy has risen to a new high, now standing at nearly 78 years, the government reported Wednesday. The increase is due mainly to falling death rates in almost all the leading causes of death. The average life expectancy for babies born in 2007 is nearly three months greater than for children born in 2006.

Are we overweight, too many of us? Yes. Do many or most of us not get enough exercise? Yes. But are we still doing better? Yes.

So let's be careful about pulling apart the system we have. Most of all, let's not confuse the minutiae of "health insurance policy" with the bigger picture of the health and well being of Americans. Healthcare "reform" is not an end in itself. One kind of reform might be better, or might be worse, but it is a means to an end. The end is better health and well-being for Americans. The political argument over "health insurance reform" is just that: a political argument--a small subset of the bigger issue.

Fortunately, the American people, in their wisdom, seem to agree: Sticking with what we have now is better than trading it away for a bureaucratic unknown cooked up in Washington DC. Hence the NBC poll showing that a majority of Americans now oppose "the public option."

We can do better still, of course. Much better. But let's build on our strengths, by going forward with Serious Medicine.
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