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Health Care Reform – Remember Why We Need It

Posted by Jane Akre
Saturday, November 07, 2009 12:55 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Health Care Reform, Democrats, GOP, Pelosi, Tort Reform, Caps, Uninsured, Medical Malpractice, Medical Errors

Why do we need healt hcare reform. It boils down to the cost of continuing the system as we are.

Thousands Forced To Access Free Health Care in Animal Stalls


IMAGE SOURCE: National Public Radio/ Web site/ images from Wise, Virginia

About the only thing that Republicans and Democrats agree on is that the country will go broke if health care delivery continues in the U.S.

It’s expensive.

A study of international health care spending levels in 2000 found the U.S. spends more on health care than any other country, yet U.S. remains the only wealthy industrialized country that does not have a universal health care system.

And it is not efficient.

The non-partisan World Health Organization ranked the U.S. health delivery 37th in the world in overall performance and 72nd in overall level of health among 191 member nations.

The Need

When Remote Area Medical (RAM), a nonprofit organization, brought its free medical care to third world countries, it soon discovered that the need in the U.S. was just as great.

So far this year, it has delivered dental and medical care in animal stalls at a county fairgrounds in West Virginia, and seen thousands show up before dawn to receive free medical care in the Los Angeles area.

RAM brings x-rays machines, optometry equipment, dental chairs, and lamps, all courtesy of the 1,800 volunteers working for Remote Area Medical Expedition (RAM).

In all, 2,700 people were seen during the three-day event in West Virginia, with just over half having no insurance at all.

Estimates are there are 45.7 million uninsured people in the U.S. according to a 2007 annual census survey. According to other estimates, the number of uninsured Americans under the age of 65 is closer to 54 million.

They are going without coverage because they cannot afford it on their own and their job does not offer insurance, or because they have lost their employer-based medical insurance. And health-provided insurance is becoming less stable as the economy moves from a manufacturing-based economy to a service economy, reports the National Coalition of Health Care.

A small percentage of Americans, generally the young, opt to go without insurance.

The Miami Herald reports on "The Invincibles" - healthy people who feel they can opt out of health insurance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 19 million people ages 18 to 34 do not have health insurance.

The Cost of Being Uninsured - 44,789 Deaths

Those without health insurance generally have poorer outcomes.

Simply lacking health insurance can raise the risk of dying by 40 percent.

A study published in the September issue of the Journal of Public Health (AJPH), says the lack of insurance appeared to be a factor in the 2005 deaths of as many as 45,000 people.

The raw numbers found that kids who lacked health insurance were 60 percent more likely to die in the hospital, reports US News.

That translates to an estimated 17,000 U.S. children over the past two decades. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore say that is more than any other single factor in predicting outcomes.

Similar findings come from the U.S. Institute of Medicine that shows uninsured have a higher death rate. #

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