The Washington health debate has largely overlooked the fact that America is getting sicker. There is some slight good news here, as obesity levels seem to be flattening. But this is after a dramatic increase over the past 20 years. Here are some major problem areas as we enter 2018:
- Chronic illness. Some 45 percent of American adults have at least one chronic disease, and that number is expected to rise.
- Obesity. More than one in three American adults is considered obese. The figure is one in six for children ages 2 to19.
- Diabetes. The national diabetes rate has doubled in 20 years. The Centers for Disease Control believes that if current trends continue, one-third of American adults will have diabetes by 2050.
- Heart disease. Cardiac diseases remain the leading killer in the United States. The CDC predicts that the number of Americans with heart disease will leap another 46 percent by 2030.
- Alzheimer’s. While the rates of Alzheimer’s incidence may have flattened, there is no question that the number of Americans who will live with the disease is expected to rise substantially as the population ages.
Summary: In short, get ready for another rocky year — or maybe two or three — of health care news.
.. How many terrorists have come from these countries? According to one researcher at the right-leaning CATO Institute, between 1975 and 2015, there have only been nine people from these eight countries to have either carried out an attack in the United States or have been convicted of planning one. Another figure from that same research: There have been zero fatal acts of terrorism conducted by an individual from any of these countries.
There is, however, a unifying theme — Donald Trump’s contempt for the voters who put him in office.
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Well, he hasn’t done that, at least so far. He is, however, betting that he can break every promise he made to the working-class voters who put him over the top, and still keep their support. Can he win that bet?
.. remember his claims that he would pay off the national debt?
.. West Virginians .. more than 4 percent of the population, the highest share in the nation, receives Social Security disability payments, partly because of the legacy of unhealthy working conditions, partly because a high fraction of the population consists of people who suffer from chronic diseases, like diabetics
.. they supported Trump because he promised — falsely, of course — that he could bring back the well-paying coal-mining jobs of yore.
.. Maybe he would take benefits away from Those People, but he would protect the programs white working-class voters
.. it would be apocalyptic: Hundreds of thousands would lose health insurance; medical debt and untreated conditions would surge; and there would be an explosion in extreme poverty, including a lot of outright hunger.
.. Coal isn’t coming back; these days, West Virginia’s biggest source of employment is health care and social assistance. How many of those jobs would survive savage cuts in Medicaid and disability benefits?
.. people who voted for Donald Trump were the victims of an epic scam by a man who has built his life around scamming.
The public-health crisis we’re facing won’t be solved by access to health insurance.
these charts may actually understate the extent of “deaths by despair.” The obesity epidemic is carrying with it increases in chronic health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, and make no mistake — obesity is exploding in the United States.
.. “If it weren’t for addicts,” he says, “I wouldn’t have a job.”
.. They’re killing themselves, and the best health care and the most luxurious “Cadillac” health plans won’t stop their slide into oblivion.
.. It’s too simple to say that health insurance and the current debate in Washington doesn’t matter to public health. It obviously does. But it’s fair to say that it may well matter less than healthy marriages, strong families, decent jobs, and a vibrant faith.
.. the plight of the white working class well: “Your family life has fallen apart, you don’t know your kids anymore, [and] all the things you expected when you started out your life just haven’t happened at all.” And so, to “soothe the beast,” you turn to substances, to food, and — sometimes — ultimately to death itself.
.. there is no simple solution to this crisis, there is no simple explanation. For every attempt at a short summary — it’s about jobs; it’s about marriage; it’s about welfare and dependency — there’s an answer that complicates the picture.
.. “African-Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole