This article is in response to 'A Perfect Storm in Health' by CEO William D. Novelli, in the January, 2005 issue of AARP Bulletin, Page 24.
Rising health care costs, and employers' attempts to control them, contribute to the growing number of now more than 43,000,00 insured, a significant number consisting of poor working families. Increasingly, there are growing numbers of poor and middle-class families, and single people, facing economic problems and filing for bankruptcy. There are growing numbers of middle-class families, and single people, becoming poor. There are growing numbers of poor families, and single people, existing (not living) underneath the poverty line.
In order to survive, increasing numbers of people are dependent on credit, and are getting into financial trouble. Some of these individuals include poor people, who may be able to qualify for a credit card, but cannot afford a car or another form of transportation for health care, to buy groceries, and get to their jobs.
Alarmingly, a significant number of Americans have to choose between eating or not eating, and seeking health care or buying prescription drugs, and are sinking in the quicksand of downward mobility.
In a recent study, conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, findings show that the United States loses some 65,000,000,000 to 130,000,000,000 dollars per year, resulting in the poor health and early death of uninsured adults. And, these statistics do not include the staggering numbers of uninsured children. The lack of health insurance leads to approximately 18,000 deaths per year, as the uninsured cannot afford health care. And, no American should be forced to choose between eating, and seeking health care, or buying prescription drugs.
According to the National Coalition on Health Care, America is facing rising costs, increasing numbers of the uninsured, and poor-quality (if any) health care. The health care system requires major reform, and needs it now, as a national priority: health care for all Americans, capping health care costs (including the cost of prescription drugs), improving the quality of health care (i.e., doctor visits being expanded to more than 15 minutes per patient, being able to receive annual physical exams, and having access to flu shots). There is an unrealistic spread of costs between individuals, families, employers, and government. Administrative costs, in America, are the highest in the world.
Without necessary reform, the health care system is going to continue overwhelming Americans, resulting in a continuance of poor-quality (or no) health care, brought about by unaffordable health care costs (including the cost for prescription drugs). If Americans have to choose between eating, and seeking health care or buying prescription drugs, it should be obvious which option they will decide on. As human beings, we must have a well-balanced diet, or we will become sick and die.
No person in America, the richest country in the world, should be inhumanely forced to go without food, in choosing to seek quality health care, and buying medically necessary prescription drugs.
The problem is that America has re-elected a President that is willing to support war, no matter what the cost, and even at the expense of its own people--rapidly becoming poor, or existing below the poverty line.