The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Our Life Expectancy or Capitalism’s?
We Have the Power to Decide

Sep 12, 2022

The wealthiest country in the world with “the best health care system” saw yet another drop in life expectancy for a second year in a row. How is this even possible?

While there were over one million deaths from Covid, accounting for half of the decline in living longer, that is not the whole story. Drug overdoses and other accidental deaths as well as heart disease claimed hundreds of thousands of more lives. But this still doesn’t explain why with the best health care and all the wealth in this country, people are dying younger than in 1992.

The U.S. health care system is fragmented and profit driven. Those without health insurance or those who are under-insured go without routine, preventative medical care. Big pharma over-prices drugs needed for chronic conditions like diabetes—a disease that also leaves a person more vulnerable to dying from Covid. People living in over-crowded living conditions, pollution, unsafe drinking water, these all contribute to shorter lifespans. There is no national public health care. Public health is handled on a state-by-state basis. Over the last several decades the states have gutted funding for public health, which is one of the facts that made Covid so unnecessarily devastating. Many workplaces don’t offer sick leave, forcing workers to come to work sick and spread their germs to their co-workers.

For sure we are going backwards. The last time U.S. life expectancy dropped 2 years in a row was 100 years ago—and that was during a recession. We may live in the wealthiest country, but that wealth is in the hands of the top one percent who can get the best health care money can buy.

Guess what, our labor, the labor of the working class, produced all that wealth. And it is long past time that we benefit from the wealth we made. Exactly because we do produce the wealth also means we can take that wealth back from the bosses, the capitalists, and use it for our benefit.