Saturday, March 31, 2007

This is the American Dream? More Health Care Nightmares.

Following up on previous posts about the bankrupting experiences non-insured individuals face in our society, there is this story from the San Francisco Chronicle. It details how a Bay Area man was charged $12,000 (almost twice his annual income) for an emergency room which turned up.... (wait for it...) a cracked rib.

It also underlines the importance of universal coverage that guarantees affordable health care to anyone, anywhere -- a goal that's become a central issue in California and in the current presidential campaign.
"We are the only developed country that doesn't cover all its people," said Stan Dorn, a senior research associate at the nonpartisan Urban Institute. "We also spend a lot more than the rest of the developed world."
The United States spent an average of $6,102 per person on health care in 2004 (the latest year for which figures are available), according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Canada spent $3,165 per person, France $3,159, Australia $3,120 and Britain a mere $2,508. At the same time, life expectancy in the United States was lower than in each of these other countries and infant mortality was higher.

The article also states that 47 million Americans have no insurance. They don't cite their source for this statistic, and it sounds a little low to me, but we'll go with it. The US census population clock estimates the current US population at 301 million, so we have what like 1 in 7 Americans with no coverage. Again that estimate sounds awefully low to me.

This is so insane, I can't even think about it. I mean, I don't have any coverage, and being over 35 now, it's time I start to watch my blood pressure.

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