Life expectancy in the United States has dropped for a second-straight year according to public health experts. Data indicates that the opioid epidemic is behind this drop. The negative direction of U.S. life expectancy is 'wildly out-of-sync' with the rest of the developed world. The U.S. remains 'exceptional' in ways that betray the positive connotations of the word.
The declines are shockingly out of sync with a larger world in which lives are getting longer and healthier, public health experts said. “The rest of the world is improving. The rest of the world is seeing large declines in mortality and large improvements in life expectancy,” said Peter Muennig, a professor of health policy and management at Columbia University. “That’s true in rich countries and middle-income countries and generally true even in lower-income countries.”
This news comes as the United States partially-repeals its groundbreaking attempt at universal healthcare. Congressional Republicans repealed the insurance mandate requirement of the law, something that was created to lower health costs for all Americans. This change in the health law will lead to an additional 10,000 American deaths annually.
The difference between the U.S. and most of the rest of the world “is very stark,” said Jonathan Skinner, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College. Newborns in 29 countries, including Japan, Australia and Spain, had life expectancies above 80 years in 2015, according to the World Health Organization. The average global life expectancy was 71.4 and rising, according to that agency’s most recent report.