The United States spends more on health than any other country in the world, yet we are far from the healthiest. In recent years, our life expectancy has lagged, even declined. We have fallen behind our peer countries on a range of key health indicators, including heart disease, infant mortality and HIV/AIDS. And we face acute health challenges – from obesity, to opioids, to gun violence.
Why is our health so mediocre? The answer is we are not spending on health. We are spending on health care. Health is more than the doctors and medicines we turn to when we are unwell. It is a product of the world around us – the social, economic, and environmental conditions in which we live. Health care helps us when we are sick, but whether or not we get sick in the first place is decided by factors like the air we breathe, the water we drink, our income, neighborhood, schooling and overall social capital. These are the true foundations of health.
Unfortunately, the current administration has consistently shown that its priorities do not include investing in these foundations. Instead, it has embraced a policy of rolling back the political and institutional structures that keep us healthy. We cannot be healthy if we lack safe, affordable housing, if our environment is polluted or if our economy generates inequality that enriches the few at the expense of the many, making it hard for millions to afford the basic necessities of life.
Read the full piece at U.S. News.