A new study has uncovered a heartbreaking statistic: American children are 70 percent more likely to die before they reach adulthood than children from other rich countries.
The study, which was published in Health Affairs, states that despite child mortality rates declining worldwide, since 1961 over 600,000 child deaths have occurred in the United States that would not have happened had the children been born in other wealthy countries.
Furthermore, researchers have discovered that between 2001 and 2010 infants had a 76 percent chance higher risk of death than infants born in peer countries. During that nine-year span, researchers also discovered that the United States has an infant death rate from extreme prematurity that is three times that of peer countries.
During the study, the United States was compared against 19 other countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Sweden and Australia, among which the United States was ranked in last place.
Why is this? One researcher claims that it probably has a lot to do with the United States' chaotic health care system, which frankly, isn't so surprising considering Congress isn't funding kids' health insurance.
"It really seems to be the impact of our fragmented health care system," said Ashish Thakar, the study's lead author. "Mothers who are qualifying for Medicaid for the first time because they're mothers might be seeing doctors for the first time. They might not have a family physician, or a clear support system."
This study was released nearly three months after Congress allowed for the Children's Health Insurance Program to expire. CHIP was a relatively inexpensive, extremely successful program that helped to provide insurance to over nine million low-income children. Yet, Congress has done quite literally nothing to bring it back or find a way to assist the 9 million children that are now uninsured.
It’s been more than 100 days since CHIP expired. More than nine million children rely on this program for health care. It’s inexcusable the GOP hasn’t passed long-term funding. https://t.co/nO3HWby40j— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 9, 2018
In addition to CHIP, Congress also failed to re-approve spending on another program that assisted low-income families and their children. In fact, that funding for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, a program designed to improve maternal and infant care while promoting child development, ran out on the same day as CHIP and there has been zero conversation about how to extend its budget.
Instead of wasting $18 billion on a border wall we could:— Robert Reich (@RBReich) January 9, 2018
--End homelessness for 500K+ Americans
--Rebuild Puerto Rico's electric grid
--Cover damages from Western wildfires
--Fund CHIP for decadeshttps://t.co/OKOo3ITKzk
It isn't just American children that have a higher risk of dying before adulthood either. Teenagers in the United States are 82 times more likely to die before they reach adulthood due to gun homicide than in any peer country.
It's no mystery that the more guns a country has, the more gun deaths. And while the U.S. only has 4.4. percent of the world's population, it also owns nearly half the civilian-owned guns around the world.
What's so sickening about these statistics is that they are all preventable. Gun control, health care programs for underprivileged children and health care in general are things that continuously have large approval from the public, but are not dealt with in Congress and are just completely ignored.
What's worse is that it doesn't appear like the situation will improve without a solid government commitment towards improving children's health care programs. Maybe Congress disagrees, but coming in last place for child deaths certainly doesn't seem like a way to "make American great again."
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Carlos Barria