Who Lives? Who Dies?

This is from a presentation by Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Peter Orszag:

  • In 1980, life expectancy at birth was 2.8 years more for the highest socioeconomic group than for the lowest. By 2000, that gap had risen to 4.5 years.
  • That growing differential by level of educational attainment has occurred for both men and women and for both blacks and whites.
  • Differing rates of mortality from heart disease and cancers (excluding lung cancer) – possibly related to obesity and other lifestyle differences – have been the largest contributor to the growing disparities in life expectancy by educational attainment.
  • Two other diseases related to smoking-lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-have added to that differential.

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Devon Herrick says:

    According to Obama health advisor, David Cutler’s book Your Money or Your Life, life expectancy has increased about nine years since 1950. About 40% of that can be attributed to cardiac care and the treatment of low birth weight babies.

    Oddly enough, many physicians see heart disease as largely preventable and low birth weight is associated with poor prenatal care.

  2. James Lansberry says:


    So will they use this data to insist that in addition to free health care all Americans are entitled to a free PhD program?

    The rise in the difference is certainly due to the rising cost of care–so because of the influence and cost-shifting related to Medicaid the working poor can no long afford routine care.