From 1960 through 2000, the life expectancy for newborns increased by 6.97 years, lifetime medical spending adjusted for inflation increased by approximately 69,000 dollars, and the cost per year of life gained was 19,900 dollars. The cost increased from 7,400 dollars per year of life gained in the 1970s to 36,300 dollars in the 1990s. The average cost per year of life gained in 1960-2000 was approximately 31,600 dollars at 15 years of age, 53,700 dollars at 45 years of age, and 84,700 dollars at 65 years of age.
Increases in life expectancy are often attributed to advances in medical technology. The above study even calculated the cost for each extra year of life gained by 'investing' in medical care. A Public Health study concluded that
80% of Americans share their view that advances in health care are extending lives. Public Health measures such as improved sanitation, literacy, housing, health behaviors, food production, safer environments, receive relatively little credit for life extension by the general public.
My question is: Is the public correct in assuming medical technology is the major contributor to improved life expectancy?