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Elderly in U.S. Survive Longer, Study Finds

November 02, 1995| Associated Press

BOSTON — The United States may be the healthiest place on Earth for elderly people, a study suggests.

The report found that Americans who reach age 80 can expect to live about a year longer than elderly people in four other industrialized countries.

Experts say the findings were unexpected because the United States trails many other countries in life expectancy when measured from birth. One likely explanation for older Americans' longevity is the quality and availability of their health care.

"When people turn 65, we become a country with universal health care," said Kenneth G. Manton of Duke University, the study's principal author. "Other countries have it from birth, but they cap expenses, and that translates into delays."

Americans on Medicare receive virtually any care they need without long delays. Other countries hold down costs by limiting availability of expensive services and requiring patients to wait, sometimes for many months.

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