Why U.S. Life Expectancy Is Declining

Things aren’t going well for Americans’ life expectancy rate, and our healthcare system might be to blame. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a new report Thursday that reveals that the average American lives to be almost 80. Which is a big increase on, say, cavemen — but, unfortunately, life expectancy in America has fallen below that of most developed nations. The OECD said in a press statement, “Life expectancy [in the U.S.] is now more than a year below the OECD average of 80.1, compared to one year above the average in 1970.”

Analysts have suggested that the economic and social factors in America might have a lot to do with this, particularly when it comes to the current state of healthcare. Amongst other factors, the OECD notes that the United States’ provides few resources to public health and primary care; that a significant amount of the country’s population is uninsured; and that the higher rates of poverty and income inequality than most other surveyed countries.

This report comes at an interesting time, considering all of the recent criticisms of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Most Americans and politicians have deep concerns about Obamacare’s ability to function, as Bustle reported two weeks ago:

After a major struggle to effectively implement the Affordable Care Act and utilize, [Obama’s] own party is beginning to express serious concern. On Wednesday, 16 Democrats in the Senate met with the president, Vice President Joe Biden, and other senior White House officials to encourage a speedy fix to the faulty health care website.

“The American people are frustrated with the White House’s botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, and I am too,” Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor told Politico. “In today’s meeting, I told the President and Vice President three things: 1) fix the website immediately 2) address the problems with the law and 3) hold the individuals in charge accountable for these mistakes. I won’t let up until these problems are fixed.”

A Gallup Poll from October reveals that 45 percent of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act, meaning most Americans aren't in favor of the healthcare reform. And there's more: majority of Americans want to see Congress to modify the law by either repealing it, scaling it back, or expanding it.

Still, the OECD study is good news (finally!) for Obamacare: a shift in our country's healthcare might see all of us living an extra few years in the long run.

(Image via Flickr/phalinn)