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In 2010 (18.5% ) 49.1 Million people in the US were uninsured. 16% of the uninsured were children, 30% were 19-25 year-olds and 18% were adults.
And many more people are underinsured. Actually 1n 3 Americans is in a family with a problem paying their medical bills due to high health costs and being underinsured or uninsured.
According to a newly released study by the Dept. of Health and Human Services 129 million American under the age of 65 have some type of pre-existing condition. And those 55-64 are the most likely to have a pre-existing condition. This means they can be denied insurance or pay a much higher rate. These are the people that need health care the most!!
We are better than this!!
Or are we?
We have been trying to to have a form of universal health care for 50 years! Why can't we do it?
Every other western industrial country does. And they cover everyone with lower costs than we do. And in most cases have better outcomes.
Is it because we have made health care into a profit industry while the other countries use government directly or only non-profits for citizens basic health care?
Have we developed a health care industrial complex like our military industrial complex? The health care workforce is the 3rd highest in the US following retail and wholesale. As of 2010 the health care costs were 18 % of the US GDP . And the profits of the 10 largest health insurance companies increased 250% between 2000 and 2009. Then last year they rose again up 56% more with a 12.2 billion profit. For more info go to: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/insuranceprospers/index.html
The costs of prescription drugs have been helped by generics. However not all drugs have generics and prices have risen generally double the rate of inflation between 2005 and 2009. Specialty drugs like the interferon used by MS patients like me have more than doubled the rate. Some have tripled the rate of inflation. For more information go to: http://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-08-2010/rx_price_watch.html and my prior personal blogs on the subject here.
Our medical services emphasize expensive diagnostic services and elective surgeries vs. good preventive care with regular care by Family Practioners. Almost completely the opposite of those in other countries. It seems we can learn from the successes in other industrialized countries. If we would only be open to them. They have universal coverage, the costs are much less and their results are better!!
Here there are a lot of lobbyists working for the many companies that provide our health care to keep the current system profitable for their clients. These companies and many people directly or indirectly (stocks) are benefitting from our current system. So why would they want to change it?
What if we made all healthcare non-profits and regulated outrageous costs like so many other industrialized countries. Would our escalating health care costs for each of us, the government and our country's economy be better? I think so. Or are we just going to continue to go backward?
Because if we don't do something our health care costs will undo all else we as a country should be doing to progress in our evolving international global economy. Is the answer to have our citizens use less health care even if they need it. What about the emergency room.....if you can't pay will we just let you die?
Or will we reign in the profit side of our health care industrial complex?
Right now 56% of Americans under 65 receive a variety of health insurance plans from their employer. (This started as part of a benefit package in place of increased wages which were disallowed due to price controls under President Nixon). And for the population as a whole 45% receive their health care from the Government. That includes Medicare, Medicaid, Military and Public Employees and their dependent's. And 18 % have no health insurance insurance coverage at all.
I have been following health care and the development of the Health Care Act for years. Here's my thoughts on the subject in 2009.
Today I'm still very committed to health care reform and universal coverage with no limits on insurance for people with prior existing conditions. I am also committed to reducing it's costs. I was pleased to read the plans in "Obama Care" for doing just that.
The Law has been passed by Congress and I on Medicare have not had an increase except in my Prescription Drug cost on Medicare D (which Medicare cannot regulate by law) This I think should change, however I've already written about that. I also benefited by the preventive care provisions on my mammogram and colonoscopy. And many people not on Medicare are starting to benefit too. Examples are children with pre-existing conditions not being denied care and young adults staying on their parent's health plans.
This is a very complex plan trying to start to fix our nation's very complex problem. People who feel they have great health care coverage may not see the need until their costs skyrocket, or have to use it and see what's it's lacking.
Now the future of our nations health care is in the hands of the nine judges on the supreme court. I think we with disabilities and prior existing conditions all need to advocate and to pray!
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