Letter: Life Expectancy

Conservatives complain that California’s higher taxes and high level of government regulations are forcing California businesses to move to Texas. And yet, highly educated, ambitious young people, like Mark Zuckerberg, prefer coming to California, driving up our housing costs. They come to California because of the infrastructure that those taxes and government regulations make possible. Business innovation is higher in Boston, Seattle, the Bay Area and Los Angeles because of the infrastructure (excellent universities, highly educated residents, quality medical care, concentration of venture capital, well-functioning civic institutions, cultural amenities, etc.) that those taxes and regulations make possible. An underappreciated benefit of these higher taxes and government regulations is increased life expectancy. In 1990, Texas and California residents had similar life expectancy, 75.3 years and 75.9 years, respectively. By 2016, Texas life expectancy of 78.5 years now lagged California’s life expectancy of 80.9 years by more than two years. Texas and California both have high quality health care, eliminating one possible explanation for California’s superior life expectancy. Since 1990, Texas and California priorities have diverged with respect to providing access to quality health care for all of their residents and adopting regulations that protect pregnant patients even if the regulations cost hospital systems money to implement. Women in Texas are now more likely to die during childbirth than women in most other states. In Texas, 34.2 women die for every 100,000 intending to give birth, compared to California’s 4.1 per 100,000. To put these rates into perspective, approximately 120 Texas pregnant/postpartum women who lost their lives last year who would be alive today if California rather than Texas had been responsible for their perinatal care. The “culture of life” that conservative Texas state leaders espouse has not stopped them from opposing efforts to improve Texas women’s access to life-saving health care or efforts to require Texas hospitals to implement life-saving procedures that don’t generate profits but save women’s lives when pregnancy-related emergencies occur. Increased life expectancy is very much valued by those who experience it but not much appreciated by conservatives intent on cutting taxes and government regulations, no matter the consequences.

William McCarthy

13StarsManager
https://malibutimes.com
The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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