It’s not just that life expectancy in Mississippi (71.9) now appears to be a hair shorter than in Bangladesh (72.4). Nor that an infant is some 70 percent more likely to die in the United States than in other wealthy countries.

Nor even that for the first time in probably a century, the likelihood that an American child will live to the age of 20 has dropped.

All that is tragic and infuriating, but to me the most heart-rending symbol of America’s failure in health care is the avoidable amputations that result from poorly managed diabetes.

A medical setting cannot hide the violence of a saw cutting through a leg or muffle the grating noise it makes as it hacks through the tibia or disguise the distinctive charred odor of cauterized blood vessels. That noise of a saw on bone is a rebuke to an American health care system that, as Walter Cronkite reportedly observed, is neither healthy, caring nor […]

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