Wednesday, September 13, 2006
However, after seeing Keith Olbermann's statement from MSNBC, I think there may be some cause for hope.
Olbermann says nearly everything I would have said myself, if I were given the opportunity, and done it in an articulate, pointed, and intelligent way. Everything our President is not.
Where you live, combined with race and income, plays a huge role in the nation's health disparities, differences so stark that a report issued Monday contends it's as if there are eight separate Americas instead of one.
Millions of the worst-off Americans have life expectancies typical of developing countries, concluded Dr. Christopher Murray of the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Asian-Americans, average per capita income of $21,566, have a life expectancy of 84.9 years.
- Northland low-income rural whites, $17,758, 79 years.
- Middle America (mostly white), $24,640, 77.9 years.
- Low income whites in Appalachia, Mississippi Valley, $16,390, 75 years.
- Western American Indians, $10,029, 72.7 years.
- Black Middle America, $15,412, 72.9 years.
- Southern low-income rural blacks, $10,463, 71.2 years.
- High-risk urban blacks, $14,800, 71.1 years.
Longevity disparities were most pronounced in young and middle-aged adults. A 15-year-old urban black man was 3.8 times as likely to die before the age of 60 as an Asian-American, for example.
That's key, Murray said, because this age group is left out of many government health programs that focus largely on children and the elderly.
This kind of study, along with other evidence that the gap between rich and poor is increasing, should be alarming. This is not a matter of comfort; this is about life and death.