Recently, I was reminded by my favorite radio talk show host about the abysmal infant mortality rate in the U.S.. A little over 6 infants out of 1000 births die before the age of one year. There are 28 countries, including Cuba, who have better figures than the U.S.. This all seems to be a paradox because we are the country with the largest number of neonatologist and neonatal nurseries. Could it be because we have a so called, “broken health care system” with 47 million Americans who are uninsured.
I think it has little to do with the insurance. In my hospital well over half the deliveries are Medicaid, which means they are paid for by the state. No one is turned away from the delivery suite because of lack of money.
We don’t want to say the real reason for the horrible mortality figures. Most of these infants who are doomed to die are products of African–American or Hispanic parents. A large number of these are born to unwed mothers. Many of the parents are teenagers and the vast majority are at poverty level and have no education. Medical care is available if only the person realizes the need to seek it. The infant mortality is related to culture, poverty and education more than to the availability of medical care. Even when we get universal health insurance the figures will unlikely change to a great degree. An improvement in education and a change in culture will also be needed to improve our statistics.
The sexual behavior of most of the parents responsible for the infants who die is not a lot different from the deer who live in my backyard. It’s very promiscuous and primitive. The father is frequently unknown and is just someone relieving his sexual desires on the most available doe.
A relationship that stresses the importance of family and social responsibility is the best fix for the infant mortality problem. This change in culture and thinking enhanced by education must apply to all if we are to see improvement in the infant mortality. Obama has talked about change we can believe in. This is one change I sure hope he can implement by the example he sets and the vision he can create for a better America.
Universal health care coverage will be a good thing but is going to make the national debt even worse. National health care was a high priority for Obama during his campaign but with the horrible state of the economy it will likely take a back seat along with the energy crisis. It will be interesting to see what Tom Daschle has to offer when he becomes Secretary of Health.
In the meantime, I’m trying to improve the sagging longevity figures in the US by staying calm on the porch. That’s hard to do when I look out the window and see the deer laughing at me as they destroy my yard. My Christmas gluttony also didn’t help my case.