Life Expectancy Gap Between Rich and Poor is Growing

Daily Kos: another study, this time from the Brookings Institution, has confirmed that there’s something going on with life expectancies, and it’s increasingly related to inequality.​​

“Looking at the extreme ends of the income spectrum, economists at the Brookings Institution found that for men born in 1920, there was a six-year difference in life expectancy between the top 10 percent of earners and the bottom 10 percent. For men born in 1950, that difference had more than doubled, to 14 years. For women, the gap grew to 13 years, from 4.7 years.”
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“Limited access to health care doesn’t account for many of the nation’s premature deaths. More than anything, the gap, again, seems to be behavioral, starting with smoking.”

“Two other factors are the rise in deaths related to drug overdoses (including prescription drugs), and the rise in obesity. However, obesity may not be the main driver of the income disparity, if only because obesity is something that’s increasing on all sides of the income divide: In 2010, the number had risen to the point where 37 percent of adults at the lower end of the income ladder were obese, compared with 31 percent at the higher end.”

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  • Calbengoshi

    While many “premature deaths” may be due to lifestyle and behavioral choices, I find it hard to believe that the ability to spend as much as may be needed regardless of insurance coverage does not give contribute to the rich on average having a longer life span than the rest of us.

    • pisher

      Agreed, but what’s the remedy? The same holds true in countries with universal healthcare coverage–and doctors have the right to opt out of any such system if they wish. A friend of mine who lives in Germany had to take his son to a specialist who insists on being paid directly by patients–thankfully he doesn’t charge too much for a consult, which was all the boy needed.

      I think the real benefit comes from being able to get appointments more quickly, to get referred to the very best specialists without regard to cost, to not have to stop and ask yourself if you really need a consult–and maybe most importantly to be able to get all the physical therapy you want, whenever you want. Personal trainers, massage, whirlpool baths, saunas, acupuncture, special supplements–and just a lot less stress relating to cost of living, transportation, etc–it adds up. Food that tastes great and satisfies your appetite, without making you fat–great chefs can do that. It’s a rich tapestry.

      Life wears you down faster when you’re poor. Though then again, look at Sheldon Adelson–you call that living? Granted, he’d probably be dead by now if he were poor, but he might be better off.

      Anyway, watch this–it’s instructive. Has been for a long time now.

      • moderatesunite

        The same actually doesn’t hold true for the rest of the world.
        The US is the only industrialized country with a substantial gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor

    • pisher

      Agreed, but what’s the remedy? The same holds true in countries with universal healthcare coverage–and doctors have the right to opt out of any such system if they wish. A friend of mine who lives in Germany had to take his son to a specialist who insists on being paid directly by patients–thankfully he doesn’t charge too much for a consult, which was all the boy needed.

      I think the real benefit comes from being able to get appointments more quickly, to get referred to the very best specialists without regard to cost, to not have to stop and ask yourself if you really need a consult–and maybe most importantly to be able to get all the physical therapy you want, whenever you want. Personal trainers, massage, whirlpool baths, saunas, acupuncture, special supplements–and just a lot less stress relating to cost of living, transportation, etc–it adds up. Food that tastes great and satisfies your appetite, without making you fat–great chefs can do that. It’s a rich tapestry.

      Life wears you down faster when you’re poor. Though then again, look at Sheldon Adelson–you call that living? Granted, he’d probably be dead by now if he were poor, but he might be better off.

      Anyway, watch this–it’s instructive. Has been for a long time now.

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