Cuba vs. the US on the health front: what do we know?
Today's New York Times has a thought-provoking little piece on health care in Cuba, where life expectancy is longer than in the U.S. apropos of Michael Moore's forthcoming movie "Sicko."
After presenting possible reasons for lower infant mortality (more abortions) and longer life-expectancy (failing to take account of the death of refugees), the article muses as to whether Cubans' relative privations (fewer cars=more walking, less [but adequate] food=less obesity) might actually improve their health. A Cuban doctor who defected and now works in Miami points out that there are actually two health care systems in Cuba, one for public officials and visitors, which has everything, and one for everyone else. The second-tier system is pretty bare-bones, but begs the question - not asked by the article - of what are the essential elements of a functioning health care system that actually improves health?
As always, it's hard to separate the impacts on longevity of lifestyle (and socioeconomic) factors from that of health care itself. However, there's certainly lots more to be learned about the Cuban system(s), which we may not be able to learn, given restrictions on access.