The United States of America is, once again, proving itself to be a truly exceptional rich country.
The United States is one of just eight countries in the world where deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth rose between 2003 and 2013, a new report says. That puts it in the company of countries such as Afghanistan, Belize and El Salvador.Although U.S. maternal mortality rates remain much lower than those in many of the world's poorest countries, they are still higher than a host of other countries, ranging from the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia, according to a report published Friday in the Lancet by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Not surprisingly, researchers blame our country's so-called health care "system," which, as anyone who has experienced health care in England, France, Italy, Japan, Australia, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Canada or New Zealand can tell you, is not really much of a system at all.
The maternal death rate per 100,000 U.S. women was 12.4 in 1990, 17.6 in 2003 and 18.5 in 2013, the report says. The global rate per 100,000 was 209 and falling in 2013; the rate in developed countries was 12.1, half the 1990 rate.Now, perhaps this is because U.S. women having babies just become pregnant while already quite sick; that's still, however, a major indictment of our barbaric health care non-system.
The continued rise in the United States may reflect "the performance of the health system as a whole," and "poorer access to essential health care," compared with other developed countries, says study author Nicholas Kassebaum. It also may reflect health problems in U.S. women, he says.
"It certainly seems plausible that one of the underlying causes is that more mothers are ill when they start their pregnancies," Kassebaum says.Depressed? Here's more bad news: in our exceptional nation, the pace of children under age 5 that are dying is declining, but it's declining at a slower rate than in many other countries.
A separate study, also in Lancet, on child deaths finds that 28,000 children younger than 5 died in the United States in 2013. Such deaths declined in the United States and the world between 1990 and 2013, but the pace of the U.S. decline has slowed, the report says.World's best health care, right?