It was recently reported that life expectancy in the U.S. dropped for the first time since 1993. This was a reflection of the statistics from 2015, which saw a decrease of one-tenth of a year from 2014.
These numbers don’t mean a whole lot because there are so many variables determining life expectancy. Many people look at medical care as a big driving factor, but it probably does not account for much.
There are issues such as crime, suicides, and, of course, diet. Advocates of socialized medicine will often point to the fact that some countries with socialized healthcare (Canada, for example) have higher life expectancy rates than the United States. They therefore conclude, or want you to conclude, that the government-run system is responsible for this.
When you look at the U.S. as compared to Western Europe or Japan, the U.S. has a relatively high rate of obesity. If you want to blame anything on the lower life expectancy, you should look to culture before medical care.
Of course, the U.S. does not have anything resembling a free market in medical care. It is mostly a fascist system, and also partially socialized. You can still find a doctor and pay the doctor from your own pocket (something HillaryCare would have made illegal), but it is nothing close to a free system.
If you have a serious accident and need trauma care, there is probably no better place to be than in a large city inside the United States. But outside of true emergencies, sometimes I think it is better just to not go to the doctor in many circumstances. The U.S. is an overly-medicated society that turns to drugs to fix symptoms. The medical establishment does not look at the root causes.
If socialized medicine helps in life expectancy in any way, it is because people are less likely to go to the doctor because of wait times and hassle. It is easier to go to the doctor in the U.S. If you don’t go to a doctor, then you figure out how to deal with your ailment.
In the libertarian world, we talk about how big government kills people with their wars of aggression. But big government kills people in many ways. While some will correctly point to the FDA keeping life-saving drugs from coming to market, I believe the entire government apparatus has been extremely detrimental in putting out bad information.
I recently went to the grocery store and my kids were picking out some yogurt off the shelf. Most of the yogurt was labeled as “low fat”. These little containers typically contained anywhere from 14 grams to 18 grams or more of sugar.
The American culture, largely promoted by big government working to protect a few big food/ agriculture companies, has been brought down with bad food choices. People have been fooled into believing bad science.
The government promotes these diets that are high in carbohydrates and sugars and low in fat. The low fat diets are not healthy for most people. Here, we are not talking about trans fats. It is healthy fats, which includes saturated fats.
The government has had a war on cholesterol, while the big pharmaceutical companies push to put people on these cholesterol lowering drugs. They are making these ridiculous claims that people should not eat such things as egg yolks, when egg yolks are healthy and highly beneficial to most people. The government is not just wrong; it is giving information that is the exact opposite of the truth.
There is a massive epidemic of obesity and disease in the United States. Most people understand heart disease is a major killer. But many people suffer from auto-immune diseases that just weren’t that prevalent in the past. The number of type-2 diabetics has absolutely skyrocketed. There are an estimated 29 million Americans who are diabetic.
This is mostly diet related. A lot of it is a result of government pushing these foods that are bad for us, while telling us that some of the good foods are bad for us. The government works with the big food/ agriculture/ pharmaceutical companies to put out this bad information. Of course, the medical establishment carries a great deal of blame too.
This is why we need a separation of health and state. The government shouldn’t be giving us information on what is supposedly healthy and unhealthy. The FDA should be abolished.
Still, as individuals, we have a responsibility to exercise the freedom that we do have. There is a world of information that exists out there that didn’t exist a couple of decades ago. We must question the state at every turn and not buy into the bad science.
I preach often on this blog about being careful with your money and making good investments. But health should figure into this as well. You must invest in yourself, which includes being healthy. You are free to eat whatever you want and do whatever you want to your body, just as you are free to invest in anything you want. But it doesn’t mean you should throw away good judgement.
Eating a reasonably healthy diet and taking care of your body is truly one of the best investments you can make. It will save you money in the long run, and you will live a more fulfilled life. Just as being future-oriented is important for saving and investing, it is just as important in treating your body well.
I see people who are future-oriented in their careers and saving money, yet they generally ignore their health. This eventually catches up with them.
While we live in a world of big government, we still have choices. Just because you have a choice to eat whatever you want, it doesn’t mean you should not make wise choices.