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Tags: life expectancy | decline | u.s. | political | priority | public health

Americans' Falling Life Expectancy Not Political Priority

By    |   Thursday, 28 December 2023 10:42 AM EST

Although the decline in Americans' life expectancy remains a pressing public health problem, it's not a political priority, The Washington Post has reported.

"I wish that life expectancy or health span were a fundamental political issue in the 2024 presidential campaign," said Dave A. Chokshi, a physician and public health professor who formerly served as health commissioner of New York, the Post reported. "We're not living the healthiest lives that we possibly could."

U.S. life expectancy rose by more than a year in 2022, but still isn't close to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, The Associated Press reported last month.

The 2022 rise was due mainly to the waning pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said. But even with the large increase, U.S. life expectancy is back to only 77 years, 6 months — about what it was two decades ago.

"We are facing extraordinary headwinds in our public health with a major decline in life expectancy. The major decline in the U.S. is not just a trend. I'd describe it as catastrophic," Food and Drug Administration Robert Califf posted Nov. 30 on X.

Still, the Post reported that President Joe Biden, 81, has not mentioned Americans' life expectancy, and Republicans also haven't mentioned it very much.

"Politicians, in general, haven't wanted to engage on this because it feels kind of squishy and the solutions don't seem clear," said Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's public health school and former White House's coordinator of the national COVID response.

In a survey of all 100 sitting senators, fewer than half acknowledged that U.S. life expectancy was a public health problem, the outlet said.

Unlike countries such as China, Canada, and Germany, the U.S. has no national strategy to deal with declining life expectancy.

Chronic disease, poor nutrition, insufficient access to care, and political decisions are all linked to premature death.

Public health experts, lawmakers, and senior health officials told the Post that challenges in dealing with life expectancy include a health-care payment system that does not reward preventive care and White House turnover that can interrupt national strategies.

Additionally, public- and private-sector officials struggle to coordinate their efforts.

"We used to think that life expectancy was just going to keep going up, and that's just not been the case," GOP presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told CNBC in August.

DeSantis linked life expectancy decline to the pandemic and drug overdoses.

A spokesman for Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., said the senator was "deeply concerned about this trend," and linked America's decline to drug overdoses, suicides, and alcoholism.

"The facts show clearly that this is being driven largely by an increase in deaths of despair, with fentanyl overdoses being the leading cause of death for Americans 18 to 45," Tuberville spokesman Steven Stafford said in a statement, the Post said.

Charlie McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Although the decline in Americans' life expectancy remains a pressing public health problem, it's not a political priority, The Washington Post has reported.
life expectancy, decline, u.s., political, priority, public health
474
2023-42-28
Thursday, 28 December 2023 10:42 AM
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