U.S. citizens suffer from poorer health than nearly all other industrialized countries, according to the first comprehensive government analysis on the subject, released Wednesday. Of 17 high-income countries looked at by a committee of experts sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the United States is at or near the bottom in at least nine indicators. These include infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, and adolescent pregnancies, as well as more systemic issues such as injuries, homicides, and rates of disability.
Together, such issues place U.S. males at the very bottom of the list, among those countries, for life expectancy; on average, a U.S. male can be expected to live almost four fewer years than those in the top-ranked country, Switzerland. U.S. females fare little better, ranked 16th out of the 17 high-income countries under review.
Supreme Court upholds Obamacare individual mandate as a tax
In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court decided to uphold his signature health care law’s individual insurance mandate in a 5-4 decision, upending speculation after hostile-seeming oral arguments in March that the justices would overturn the law. The mandate has been upheld as a tax, according to SCOTUSblog, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal wing of the court. Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog says Roberts’ vote “saved’ the Affordable Care Act.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s swing vote, dissented, reading from the bench that he and three conservative justices believe “the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”
Twenty six states sued over the law, arguing that the individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or face a fine starting in 2014, was unconstitutional. Opponents cast the individual mandate as the government forcing Americans to enter a market and buy a product against their will, while the government countered that the law was actually only regulating a market that everyone is already in, since almost everyone will seek health care at some point in his or her life. (more …)