Tuesday, November 3, 2009

U.S. Infant Mortality, the Real Numbers.

World rankings in health care have free market insurance profiteers spinning the data in a way that discredits the actual numbers. It's all smoke and mirrors, but it does what it's supposed to do, muddy the waters. But no more:

AP: "Premature births, often due to poor care of low-income pregnant women, are the main reason the U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than in most European countries, a government report said Tuesday. About 1 in 8 U.S. births are premature. Early births are much less common most of Europe; for example, only 1 in 18 babies are premature in Ireland and Finland.

Poor access to prenatal care, maternal obesity and smoking, too-early cesarean sections and induced labor and fertility treatments are among the reasons for preterm births, experts said. Premature births are the chief reason the U.S. ranks 30th in the world in infant mortality, with a rate more than twice as high as infant mortality rates in Sweden, Japan, Finland, Norway and the Czech Republic.

If U.S. infants were as mature as Sweden's are at birth, nearly 8,000 infant deaths could be avoided and the U.S. infant mortality rate would be about one-third lower than it is, according to a calculation at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

The report also found the United States saw ... survival rates for infants at that gestational age were as good or better than most European countries. "

So, once the baby is born too early, we do a good job of saving it. What we have trouble with is preventing the preterm birth in the first place."


  1. Hi. I agree that prevention is vital. But these troubles are all connected with the insurance system in the US. Usually, the people who have no insurance coverage are the people who need emergency treatment as they don't go to see a doctor unless it is really necessary. But the emergency treatments are the most expensive ones. If all people were covered there wouldn't be such a high mortality rate either. However, I am not very sure whether the health care insurance reform introduced by Obama will be helpful.
    Take care,

  2. I agree with you completely.

    I'm also not sure the reform bills will have much of an impact. The public part of the plan is to small to control rising prices.