For all those people obsessing about the U.S. finishing fourth in the 2016 Olympics sweepstakes, here's a number that ought to be a little more troubling.
We rank last among 19 comparable industrial countries in preventable deaths.
The data which has been around a few weeks was reported again this morning in the Washington Post.
Are Americans dying too soon? The answer is yes. When it comes to "preventable deaths" -- an array of illnesses and injuries that should not kill at an early age -- the United States trails other industrialized nations and has been falling further behind over the past decade.
Although the United States now spends $2.4 trillion a year on medical care -- vastly more per capita than comparable countries -- the nation ranks near the bottom on premature deaths caused by illnesses such as diabetes, epilepsy, stroke, influenza, ulcers and pneumonia, according to research by the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund published in the journal Health Affairs.