After a large number of posts criticizing the American healthcare system on this very blog, it is now time to sing its praise. The San Diego Union Tribune reports today (“U.S. deaths dropped 2% during ’04, report finds“) that the number of deaths decreased by 50,000 between 2003 and 2004. This is surprising. Despite medical advances, one would expect the number of deaths to increase due to: 1) population increase, 2) the higher proportion of elderly individuals in society and 3) the trend towards higher obesity rates.
The top three killers of Americans are heart disease, cancer, and strokes; the age adjusted death rate for each of these illnesses dropped in 2004. The heart disease rate declined more than 6 percent, the cancer rate about 3 percent and the stroke rate about 6.5 percent.
Congratulations to all those involved in improving the health care of Americans today!