A new paper on life expectancy

This isn't quite news, but here's the latest word, from Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho:

Life expectancy in the United States fares poorly in international
comparisons, primarily because of high mortality rates above age 50.
Its low ranking is often blamed on a poor performance by the health
care system rather than on behavioral or social factors. This paper
presents evidence on the relative performance of the US health care
system using death avoidance as the sole criterion. We find that, by
standards of OECD countries, the US does well in terms of screening for
cancer, survival rates from cancer, survival rates after heart attacks
and strokes, and medication of individuals with high levels of blood
pressure or cholesterol. We consider in greater depth mortality from
prostate cancer and breast cancer, diseases for which effective methods
of identification and treatment have been developed and where
behavioral factors do not play a dominant role. We show that the US has
had significantly faster declines in mortality from these two diseases
than comparison countries. We conclude that the low longevity ranking
of the United States is not likely to be a result of a poorly
functioning health care system.

A non-gated version is here.


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