May 2, 2009 in Letters

Can’t always fault health care

The Spokesman-Review

Nancy Runyan’s letter regarding the U.S. health care system (April 24) correctly states that the U.S. ranks 178th out of 223 in the world for infant deaths in the first year. The fact is Angola is No. 1 with a death rate of 194.38 per 1,000 and the U.S. is 178th at 6.86 per 1,000. You can Google to find the statistics. Being No. 178 is not bad; being No. 1 is.

The best health care system in the world will not solve the problems of poor nutrition, child abuse or bad parenting. Laying the blame on our health care system is irresponsible.

Regarding life expectancy, to say the issue is strictly related to health care is fallacious. U.S. life expectancy is 30th among U.N. member states or 45th for all “entities” at an age of 78.09. The difference between the U.S. and No. 1 is four years. The spread between the U.S. and No. 5 is 1.5 years. Source:, and look for life expectancy by countries.

Is it health care, genes or lifestyle? Who knows? A blanket statement that it is the availability of health care or its delivery doesn’t add up.

Tom Nihoul


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