Thursday, July 05, 2007

Life Expectancy Higher in the US than UK at Age 75

In the movie "Sicko," Michael Moore mentions several times that life expectancy is longer in countries like the U.K. and France that have socialized medicine than in the U.S., which doesn't have socialized health care. The implication is that the superiority of socialized medicine results in better health care and longer life expectancies.

It is true that life expectancy is higher at birth in the U.K., by 1.6 years for males and .70 years for females. However, life expectancy at older ages is
greater in the U.S. than in the U.K. (see chart above, click to enlarge).

For example, American males who are alive at ages 70, 75 or 80 years have about .60 years (7 months) of greater life expectancy on average than U.K. males; and American females alive at ages 70, 75 and 80 have more than an additional .70 years (8 months) of life expectancy.

Since quality health care (surgery, treatment, critical care, advance testing, expensive prescription drugs) is most important towards the last years of our lives, couldn't we counter Michael Moore's claim and say that the inferiority of socialized medicine, especially at the time when quality care is most important, reduces the lives of older people in U.K. by at least 1/2 year?

14 Comments:

At 7/05/2007 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does anyone pay attention to Michael Moore?

 
At 7/05/2007 4:03 PM, Blogger Marco said...

But then again, this may be a selection effect. In the US, only those that are able to afford the best possible health care, may hope to live up to age 75. Once they reach that age, their remaining life expectancy is still pretty good, and indeed better than the much larger group that reaches age 75 in the UK.

 
At 7/05/2007 4:44 PM, Anonymous Walt G. said...

I'm curious what the quality of life is for those extra 7 or 8 months of life in the U.S.

I know it sounds cruel because we all hope to die of old age, but those issues have to be resolved if the current health care cost escalation is to be addressed.

 
At 7/06/2007 6:48 AM, Anonymous jkmcguire said...

The comment that health care is a more important determinant of life expectancy at older ages is true. It relates to the issue that underlies the analysis. Health care as a determinant of life expectancy is significant only to the extent that life expectancy is determined by health care. In young people, three of the most common causes of death are violent deaths by homicide, deaths by motor vehicle accidents and suicide. None of these (in a causative way) are really a consequence of health care directly or the type of health care system. When biases of causes of death not related to health care are removed, one can analyze more accurately causation.
Wisconsin MD

 
At 7/06/2007 11:44 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I am curious to what degree live births of premature babies have lowered the US life expectancy at birth numbers. Babies that would not make it to term in many countries are born in the US. Regrettably, many die early deaths - tending to lower overall life expectancy. I just do not know how big of an issue it is. However, this is a case where advanced medical treatment in the US tends to lower one measure of health care outcomes.

 
At 7/07/2007 6:12 AM, Blogger Steve_Roberts said...

Michael Moore is an entertainer rather than a scientist, everything he says needs a pinch of salt (or maybe a garlic clove). In my view, while you can criticise a state healthcare system on grounds of poor longevity statistics, if you have a market system - which I grant you do not in the US - longevity (or its opposite) is just a phenomenon which emerges as individuals make their choices about lifestyle, and medical treatment.

 
At 8/13/2007 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how much this would cost. Maybe it is only available to those who have insurance where the insurance company cannot get out of paying?
Over here in the UK, medical care is available to everyone, so life expectancy is a figure that would cover probably the whole population.

What's this with Michael Moore? His comments about the UK health system were absolutely spot on. In fact, having checked up on the information about the statistics given in Sicko, they are all said to be correct. So what's this about taking them with a pinch of salt?

 
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At 5/11/2009 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life expectancy is more for those over 65 compared to U.K. because of America's socialized medicine program: MEDICARE. Using the statistic that people 75 live a few months longer in the U.S. than U.K. is quite silly because those people have socialized care through Medicare.

 
At 8/15/2010 6:58 AM, Blogger Abraham said...

I think the expectancy of life in UK is higher than in usa is clearly because of the processed food that the American people are eating every day while in uk it is a bit lesser in its extent when compared to usa.

 
At 8/16/2010 4:16 AM, Blogger exbizsol said...

I think UK nationals are having better life than Americans, like 40 millions American have no healthcare insurance also Drugs are too expensive. Whereas UK has a national health service that is based on the principle of free health care for all based on free at the point of service. Qxy Hives

 
At 8/24/2010 4:08 AM, Blogger 50PlusSam said...

Interesting stats. It would also be interesting to see the correlation
of these statistics with the socioeconomic status and per-capita expenditure for medical treatment at these ages.
www.lifestyle-after50.com/health.html

 
At 9/25/2010 10:16 AM, Blogger Nigel said...

Do a study on life expectancy in the Asian countries and we'd be shocked at the differences in results between those and western nations. The much higher consumption of fish (and therefore fish fats) have resulted in much higher life expectancies. We could do well be following some of those lessons learned.
TruNature

 

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