What’s most shocking about these statistics is not how unhealthy they show Americans to be, compared with citizens of countries that spend much less on and have much less sophisticated medical technology. What is most perplexing is how stunningly fast the has lost ground. Economic Sceneget fast money. A column by Eduardo Porter that explores the world’s most urgent economic challenges. Wall St. Money Meets Social Policy at Rikers Island JUL 28 Innovation Sputters in Battle Against Climate Change Sizing Up Hillary Clinton’s Plans to Help the Middle Class Germans Forget Postwar History Lesson on Debt Relief in Greece Crisis U.S. Leaves the Markets Out in the Fight Against Carbon Emissions See More » The blame for the precipitous fall does not rest primarily on the nation’s doctors and hospitals. has the highest teenage birthrate in the developed world — about seven times the rate in France, according to the O.E.C.D. More than one out of every four children lives with one parent, the largest percentage by far among industrialized nations. And more than a fifth live in poverty, sixth from the bottom among O.E.C.D. nations. Among adults, seven out of every 1,000 are in prison, more than five times the rate of incarceration in most other rich democracies and more than three times the rate for the United States four decades ago. The point is: The United States doesn’t have a narrow problem. We’ve simply handed our troubles to the medical industry to fix. In many ways, the American health care system is the most advanced in the world. But whiz-bang medical technology just cannot fix what ails us. 39341