NOT the “best healthcare in the world”: Canadians With Cystic Fibrosis Live 10 Years Longer Than Americans
Kate Lunau reports in Motherboard:
Canadians had a 77 percent lower risk of death over the course of this study than US patients with no health insurance.
There’s no cure for cystic fibrosis, a fatal genetic disorder, but better treatments mean that people with the disease are living longer. Still, Canadians with CF can expect to live nearly 10 years longer than Americans, according to a new, wide-ranging study in Annals of Internal Medicine. Given the life expectancy of those who have the disease (median age of survival was 50.9 years in Canada, 40.6 years in the US), getting an extra 10 years is a lot.
The study doesn’t draw any firm conclusions about why there’s such a discrepancy between Canada and the US, but it does offer some insights. Health insurance status, among other factors, seems to have an impact. Canadians have universal and publicly funded healthcare coverage, whereas Americans with no insurance (or unknown insurance) fared worst of all in this study.
Under the GOP’s new legislation, and following the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 14 million Americans stand to lose coverage by next year alone. It’s another stark reminder—if we needed one—that a patient’s insurance status has a real impact.
Dr. Anne Stephenson, lead author of the paper, is a respirologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, where she works with CF patients. “It’s the largest adult centre [for CF patients] in Canada,” she told me, with over 450 patients in treatment.
In the study, she and collaborators in the US looked at data from national cystic fibrosis registries, where patients are tracked. (It included 5,941 in Canada and 45,456 in the US, from 1990 to 2013.) Even after adjusting for other characteristics, like age and how severe the disease was, the risk of death for CF patients was 34 percent lower in Canada. . .
With Trumpcare, Canadians will move even further ahead in cystic fibrosis survival.