LETTER: American health care not as good as we like to think

Thursday, July 30, 2009 | 2:20 p.m. CDT; updated 11:14 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 3, 2009

In the ongoing debate about the adequacy of America’s health care system, we often hear that we have one of the world’s finest medical systems. It might be that for the people who can afford it, but it certainly isn’t for millions of Americans — including thousands in the Ninth Congressional District of Missouri.

American government figures from 2009 show that the U.S. ranks 30th in the world in life expectancy. Nations such as Italy, Spain, South Korea, Jordan and Bosnia and Herzegovina rank ahead of us. And we are in a cluster that includes Ireland, Portugal and Albania. Similarly, 2006 UN figures on infant mortality show that we rank 33rd in the world. We are behind nations such as South Korea, Spain, Slovenia, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Cuba. Where are we? Way down with Cyprus and Croatia.

Our problem is purely one of access. Americans will not have true freedom of opportunity until Congress realizes that we are the only “developed” nation that shamefully denies its citizens world-class health care. Until that day, let’s face the fact that our national health status is that of a Third World country.

Peter M. Gardner is a Columbia resident.


Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.