Life Expectancy Higher in US than UK at Age 65+
Example 1: Canada's life expectancy average is 82.1 years. The life expectancy for citizens of France is 80.9 years and the average life expectancy of those living in the U.K. is 78.9 years. In the United States, the average life expectancy rate is 78.1. But more importantly than life expectancy averages is the fact that in each of those nations, every single citizen has access to health care. The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not offer health care to all of its citizens.
Example 2: Out of 30 developed nations, life expectancy in the United States ranks 21st: Life expectancy in the United States is 4.6 years less than Japan, 2.1 years less than France and 2.6 years less than Canada. The United States has fewer physicians, nurses and hospital beds than most developed nations. In terms of continuity of care (i.e., five-plus years with the same doctor), the United States is the worst of all developed nations. By every objective measure, the United States has a second-rate health care system.
The chart above (click to enlarge) displays data for the U.S. (data here for 2004) and the U.K. (data here for 2004-06) showing: a) life expectancy at birth for males and females in both countries, and b) the additional life expectancy once a person reaches a certain age in each country. (Note: I'm looking for comparable data for Canada or France, etc.)
It's true that life expectancy is higher at birth in the U.K., by 1.7 years for males and .90 years for females, but life expectancy at older ages is greater in the U.S. than in the U.K. For men, life expectancy is greater at birth and up until age 60 in the U.K., but then the pattern reverses and men can expect to live longer in the U.S. at ages 65, 70, 75, 80 and 85. By age 75, male life expectancy is greater than in the U.K. by at least six months. Likewise, U.K. women have higher life expectancy at birth and up until age 55; at ages 60 and above, American women have greater life expectancy than their U.K. counterparts, and by age 75 women live longer in the U.S. than in the U.K. by 8-9 months.
Since quality health care (surgery, treatment, critical care, advanced testing, expensive prescription drugs) is most important during the last years of our lives, couldn't we say that the U.S. has a first-rate health care system, especially at the time when quality care is most important, and it extends the lives of older people in U.S. by at least 1/2 year?