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Books, Journals, New Media
October 5, 2005

Health Care

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;294(13):1700-1701. doi:10.1001/jama.294.13.1700

The United States may be the wealthiest nation, but its citizens are far from enjoying the best health status. Compared with persons in advanced industrial nations with comparable socioeconomic systems, Americans rank near the bottom in life expectancy, neonatal and infant mortality, low birth weight, and years of potential life lost.

America’s health woes come from three interrelated trends: growing income inequality, high poverty rates, and inadequate health care coverage. These trends are the results of the long-term corrosive effects of market ideology and government stalemate or inaction, which have proved a powerful obstacle to effective, egalitarian solutions. While the European and Canadian governments have adopted policies on social welfare, labor, and taxation to mitigate these trends and the associated erosion of health, the United States remains deficient in these attributes. To build a healthier, wealthier, and fairer society, the United States must insure health care, expand education, and protect workers’ wages. These are the major themes raised in Healthy, Wealthy, and Fair: Health Care and the Good Society.