Meredith Vieira Blames Lack of Health Insurance for Americans' Shortened Lives

Promoting a new study that claims the longevity of Americans has fallen way behind other countries like France and Australia, "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira offered an explanation that would've made Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore smile - lack of health insurance. After subsitute-host David Gregory noted that the tiny country of Andorra fared better in the survey, with their citizens living an average of 83.5 years compared to America's 77.9 years, Vieira piped up: "They say part of the reason is because so many Americans don't have health insurance."

The following exchange occurred in the 8:30am half-hour of the August 13th, "Today" show:

Meredith Vieira: "So what is the secret to a long life? The people in Japan, Australia, Sweden, France, Great Britain and Canada, they all do better than we do. It turns out the U.S, comes in at number 42 when it comes to life expectancy, just above Mexico."

David Gregory: "It didn't use to be at that low level too. Americans-"

Vieira: "It used to be eleventh place."

Gregory: "Right. Americans live an average of 77.9 years. And the people who, who live the longest?"

Natalie Morales: "Andorra."

Gregory: "Those that live in tiny country of Andorra, right, nestled between France and Spain."

Al Roker: "Wasn't that Bewitched mother-in-law?"

[Laughter]

Gregory: "That's exactly right."

Vieira: "And she was, she never died."

Roker: "She was 800-years-old."

Gregory: "But they, but they survive an average of 83.5 years. So what-"

Vieira: "They say part of the reason is because so many Americans don't have health insurance. So they don't get-"

Gregory: "Right."

Morales: "Obesity, smoking."

Vieira: "Yeah."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.