I want to discuss Michelle Obama’s recent statements in support of the president’s attempts to change the health care system in the United Sates. You do not have to worry; I am not going to go into the proposed changes and all the controversy that is whirling around the various proposals, that is a separate conversation. What I do want comment on is Michelle Obama’s recent statement that women are “crushed” under our health care system.

My personal perception is very different. I say that men are “crushed” under our health care system. One reason Malecare was founded was to combat the simple fact that in the United States men die younger than women do. Certainly, it is true that men do get involved in riskier behaviors than women (I do acknowledge that we can only blame men for that fact) and men do not always take advantage of the health care that is available to them (the “don’t worry honey, I am fine” syndrome). However, it does not come close to explaining away the significant mortality gap that currently exists between men and women.

“Up until very recently in human terms, life expectancy for men was greater than for women,”

[said] Carol J. Hogue …. a professor of maternal and child health and of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health….

Why did women overtake men in life expectancy?…

“The major killer in early life for women was maternal mortality, and that has been tamed considerably….” Hogue says.

So, how do you explain this modern day shift in mortality rate? It seems that by removing the maternal mortality problem woman’s anticipated life span has surpassed men’s potential life span. Why isn’t the potential life spans of both men and women the same?

I cannot give an answer, but I need to point to the recent hot controversy about PSA testing and the non-controversy about mammograms. PSA screening is clearly on the chopping block and will probably become a dinosaur in the near future. Mammograms, which statistically have no better ability to accurately diagnosis breast cancer (95% of breast cancers are in women and 100% of prostate cancers are in men) then does PSA testing for diagnosing prostate cancer, remains a taboo subject that is never discussed. The press is riddled with articles and quotes expanding on the evils that PSA tests causes while never acknowledging that the very same evils are caused by problematic mammogram results.

In many ways, I believe that men are “crushed” by our health care system.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW