Posts Tagged ‘Costa Rica’

Life Expectancy in the US Dropping

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

In 2009, a baby born in America could expect to live an average of 78 years, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  But this is now changing: A study in the Journal of Health Metrics shows the United States now ranks behind 10 other developed countries when it comes to life expectancy, even though Americans spend more on health care than people in most other countries.

Another study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, found that between 2000 and 2007, more than 80% of counties in the US fell in standing against the average of the 10 nations with the best life expectancies in the world. Five counties in Mississippi have the lowest life expectancies for women, all below 74.5 years, putting them behind Honduras, El Salvador, and Peru. Four of those counties, along with Humphreys County, MS, have the lowest life expectancies for men, all below 67 years, meaning they are behind Brazil, Latvia, and the Philippines.

Nationwide, women fare more poorly than men. The researchers found that women in 1,373 counties – about 40% of US counties – fell more than five years behind the nations with the best life expectancies. Journal of Health Metrics editor, Dr. Chris Murray says “It’s a real surprise to us in the study that women are faring so much worse than men. American women still live longer than men by five to eight years. But they have picked up some bad habits: Women are now smoking more.  The obesity epidemic in women is greater than in men. Progress in tackling blood pressure is much worse in women,” Murray added.

So, what we need right now is more Blue Zones in the US.  The phrase was coined by in 2004 by author, Dan Buettner, who teamed up with National Geographic and hired the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States – the blue zones. Some of them are:

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Ikaria, Greece

So, where are our Blue Zones? Women live the longest in Collier, FL, at 86 years on average, better than France, Switzerland, and Spain. Men live the longest in Fairfax County, VA, at 81.1 years, which is higher than life expectancies in Japan and Australia. Women are also living long lives in Teton, Wyoming; San Mateo and Marin, California; and Montgomery, Maryland. For men, long life spans also can be found in Marin, California; Montgomery, Maryland; Santa Clara, California; and Douglas, Colorado.

With Healthcare Reform Passage, Rush Limbaugh Will Head to Costa Rica for Medical Treatment

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Conservative Rush Limbaugh will go to socialized medicine paradise Costa Rica when healthcare reform becomes law.  Now that Congress has passed healthcare reform legislation, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh might start heading to Costa Rica for medical treatment.  The irony is that the Central American nation for years has had a socialized healthcare system.  All citizens of Costa Rica – even foreign residents – must pay into the government-run healthcare system, whether or not they use it.

Limbaugh’s choice reflects the fact that Costa Rica is an excellent destination for medical tourism, with a life expectancy that exceeds that of the United States.  The World Health Organization ranks Costa Rica at # 36 in terms of the quality of healthcare provided, while the United States ranks # 37 – despite the fact that Costa Ricans spend 87 percent less per capita on healthcare.  The free coverage applies to 86.8 percent of the population.  Cheaper labor costs and fewer lawsuits for malpractice help to control prices.

“People travel to Costa Rica (and) receive the same quality of medical services for a fraction of the cost,” said Jorge Cortes, president of the Council for International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine and medical director of Hospital Biblica, a private and internationally accredited hospital.  “When people see they can get the same surgery for three or four times less, they decide to get medical care abroad.”  The price differences are stunning.  A knee replacement that might cost $45,000 in the United States would cost $11,000 in Costa Rica.