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Even U.S. privileged have worse health outcomes than average for other wealthy nations

July 8, 2021

Comparing Health Outcomes of Privileged US Citizens With Those of Average Residents of Other Developed Countries
JAMA Internal Medicine
March, 2021;181:339-44.
By Ezekiel J. Emanuel et al

From the Abstract

Objective  To assess whether the health outcomes of White US citizens living in the 1% and 5% richest counties (hereafter referred to as privileged White US citizens) are better than the health outcomes of average residents in other developed countries. . .

Conclusions and Relevance: This study suggests that privileged White US citizens have better health outcomes than average US citizens for 6 health outcomes but often fare worse than the mean measure of health outcomes of 12 other developed countries. These findings imply that even if all US citizens experienced the same health outcomes enjoyed by privileged White US citizens, US health indicators would still lag behind those in many other countries.

Comment by David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler

US society and medical care are bad for almost everyone’s health.  While Black and Native Americans, and the poor, suffer the most, even white residents of the wealthiest 1% of counties have worse health outcomes on many measures than the average of other wealthy nations.

This terrible indictment of our society indicates the need for fundamental changes in medical care and beyond.  A society that values corporations’ drive for profit above all else is bad for everyone’s health. 

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