Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Health Care Insurance, Health Thyself!

As if overcrowded emergency rooms, closing hospitals, service cuts, exploding health care costs, and charity strains aren’t enough to illustrate the need for some form of universal health care coverage in America, the nonpartisan health care advocacy group Families USA released a study late in late last month that provides yet another compelling reason why universal health care coverage is long overdue(http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/05/28/am_health_care_reform/).
In the report, the organization noted what amounts to a “Hidden Health Tax” on those families fortunate enough to have health insurance. This “tax” as it's called, are the charges that “doctors and hospitals charge insured patients to make up for the care that doesn’t get reimbursed.”
Oppponents of universal health care or (at least) a retooling of the current system that would allow for universal affordability often malign any policy which promotes such policy change propositions as "rationed health care." This seems to prove that the costs for health care insurance are already rationed via this tax. For those of the mindset that the Free Market can and does remedy the inequities of the health care industry, it would seem that they are correct. Unfortunately, the “remedy” is “an extra $1,000 a year that the average family pays to subsidize the uninsured.” Clearly, a new model of affordable health care coverage for all tax paying Americans is in order, one that doesn't (on one hand) unfairly penalize those who are fortunate enough to have and are able to afford coverage, and (on the other hand) doesn't provide a level of access and service that is inferior to those who can pay.

To read all the findings of the report in its entirety, click on the following link.
http://www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/hidden-health-tax.pdf

Issue Addendum - June 4, 2009

According to a survey performed by a joint team of researchers consisting of authorities from Harvard's Law and Medical Schools, and from Ohio State University, medical bills accounted for over 60% of personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. over a period of 6 years.
In a report published in the the American Journal of Medicine, "62.1 percent of all bankruptcies (using a conservative estimate) in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income," this despite being well-educated and fully-entrenched in the Middle Class.
According to one of the researchers, Dr. David Himmelstein of Harvard University,
"For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection," and "Unless you're Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy."
Those who would defend the system we have in place, where American families and individuals must struggle to pay for medical care under an unforgiving Root-Hog-or-Die dynamic, and where employers—many of whom are laying off and cutting back on the number employees in the current economy—are required to provide health care (notice the lack of the word "affordable" is this requirement) need to seriously reevaluate their stance. The market economy cannot reasonably provide a remedy under a system of ballooning health care costs and hedonistic lifestyles which both contribute to the unaffordability of health care for every American. In order to create a system of either universal affordability or universal coverage, its going to take everyone involved. Government, organizations, establishments, as well as individuals have to pull up their sleeves and get busy; a no one absolved from being part of the solution.

If you have, or know of others who have a need for medicine, but have an issue with its affordability, please click on the following link for assistance.
http://www.needymeds.org/

Finally, to sign the online petition for those wishing to have a voice in the creation of a system of affordable health care in America, please click on the link below.
http://www.petitiononline.com/040609/petition.html
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