The Sick Get Sicker, And the Sickest Get Nothing.
by ItsNeverOver, Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 12:10:27 PM EDT
Following the ins and outs of American health insurance policies can be tricky, we all have encountered the cryptic phrase "preexisting condition." The way that the insurance industry words it makes it seem like Americans are scheming to cash in on their health woes from insurance companies, but in fact this policy is causing a devastating trend in our country: Americans with chronic conditions being kicked off, refused by, or reaching the benefit limits of their health coverage.
The reality is that many uninsured Americans used to be insured, and couldn't receive further coverage due to their conditions. That means that many people who are in the most need for health care aren't receiving any. Nearly a quarter of these people reported that they hadn't been to a doctor in more than a year, and said that if they need medical care they will go to the emergency room.
Well what's wrong with that? As President Bush said, "I mean, people have access to health care. After all, you just go to an emergency room." Well, turns out it's not quite that simple, and in fact, just plain wrong. Health Care for America NOW! weighs in on wastefulness of emergency room visits:
"Using an emergency room for basic health care is just about the most wasteful thing you can do. The state of California estimates that emergency room care is 3-4 times more expensive than a trip to the doctor's office. And because hospitals are required to care for anyone coming to the emergency room, this wasted money is a huge drain on our system."
In fact, this piece from The Seminal reveals how the report pokes holes in the main arguments that most conservatives use to justify the magnitude of uninsured Americans:
1.It's the uninsured that's the problem.
The insurance industry would love you to think the only problem with America's health care system is we have too many uninsured. In fact, they would probably love to have a government plan for only the uninsured to opt in to, allowing them to keep cashing health people's checks and kicking them onto government rolls when they get sick and/or old. Focusing on the uninsured takes focus off the real problem: Insurance industry malpractice.
As this report points out, the many of the uninsured are people that used to be insured. Because the insurance industry puts their profits before people, they got kicked out of the private system. We need a fix for the entire system, not just for the uninsured.
2.It's only healthy people that are uninsured.
The right wing loves to say it's only healthy people that are uninsured. They say those healthy people are "making a choice" to not spend their money on health care.
Of course, as this report makes very clear, they are completely wrong. One in three adults without insurance - an estimated 16 million people - have a chronic condition, but can't get or afford insurance. These people should be seeing a doctor, and should be covered by any honest health plan, but aren't because of insurance industry greed.
How many Americans with chronic conditions need to continue suffering? Even one would be one too many. We need to fix this backwardness in the way health coverage works. We need a new direction for America, one where every American has access to affordable health care. In order to do this, we need to reprioritize how our taxdollars are spent. Sign our Invest in US Petition in support of ending the war on a reasonable timeline in order to pay for domestic necessities like health care for everyone.