Christopher F. Koller
President of the
Milbank Memorial Fund
Who is Responsible for Our Health?
If I die before my time, is it my fault? If I drank a lot of alcohol, drove too fast, didn’t wear a seat belt, and crashed—most would say yes, I had it coming. If I got hit by that driver while walking on the sidewalk, it would be a terrible tragedy.
What about groups of people who die early? This occurs more frequently in some parts of the country than in others. It is a lot tougher to be a male born in McDowell County, West Virginia, where life expectancy at birth is 62.5 years than in Santa Clara County, California, where life expectancy is 81.6 years. Whose responsibility is that?