[quote=WendyR]Stormy - your statements that there is no reason for children and average adults to be uninsured in America don't seem to jive with the statistics. [/quote
Wendy - As I said, it is much more complex then Wiki articles, the media, and (I have to add) politicians with agendas = on both sides of the aisle - would lead you to believe. There absolutely is no valid reason for any child in America to go without healthcare and health insurance. There are too many protections in place for this to justifiably happen. Does it happen? Sadly, yes it does. When it happens, it is an unconscionable failing on the part of the parents. Children should be protected by the availability of Medicaid and SCHIP. Health screenings, healthcare and immunizations are available at all local health departments on a sliding fee scale. As I mentioned in a previous post, it is pratcically impossible to do anything for my children without being bombarded by offers of assistance - in a decidely upper middle class to extremely wealthy community. What is the answer to the problem of uninsured and/or uncared for children? Should we remove them from the home and put them into the foster care system? Should we radically change the health system for the entire nation - with the CERTAINTY that currently insured children will suffer due to the inevitable reduction in health care coverage to many? This is the land of the free - unfortunately people do have the right to make poor choices even when if puts their children in harms way. We, as a nation, don't have to like it - and most of us don't. But can we stop it? That is a question that I don't feel capable of answering.
I would like to point out that I NEVER said that I, or anyone else, could feed, clothe and shelter a family of four on $22,050. I did point out that the 2009 Poverty Line (as determined by by the US Department of Health and Human Services) for a Family of four was $22,050. This is a basic calculation of poverty based on the cost of basic nutritious food - see the link in my previous post for a more detailed calculation. Families (of 4) with young children making 133% of that amount qualify for Medicaid (WITH AN INCOME OF $29,326 - which I also could not manage on). http://www.themoneyalert.com/medicaideligibility.html
Qualification guidelines vary somewhat by state. Some states allow higher incomes. No state can have lower income criteria. Families at this level also would qualify for food stamps, free school lunch - and breakfast, low income housing, possibly WIC vouchers, as well as the numerous offers that I find so annoying. (Does the school district really need to send two separate letters each semester times three children advising me of the availability of assistance? To meet federal law, they do.) Families at the income levels we are talking about are absolutely not expected to feed, clothe and shelter their families without help. Families (of 4) making 300% of the poverty line (OR $66,150) qualify for SCHIP. If they make $66,000 per year, they can afford to buy health insurance. They may wish to spend their money differently, they may plead poverty, they may have to adjust their lifestyle, but they most certainly can afford it.
I have seen all of the statistics you quoted. They are not necessarily accurate or complete representations. Beware of Wikipedia and McPaper (USA Today) - also the CNN iReports.
• The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. Source: Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
This is very true. I firmly believe that everyone should have health insurance coverage. I do not believe in, nor do I want, a government run universal health care system. The polling results that I posted to DOW certainly indicate that the majority of Americans Do Not Want a Government Run Universal Health Care System.
• In 2006, the percentage of Americans without health insurance was 15.8%, or approximately 47 million uninsured people. Source: US Census Bureau
This is mostly true. The statistic published by the Census Bureau actually said that the percentage of PEOPLE in America without health insurance was 15.8% or the 46.6 million number that was
President Obama repeatedly quoted during the campaign. This figure is derived from a monthly survey of approximately 50,000 households, The number is then extrapolated using statistical
techniques to come up with an estimate for the nation. That said, the Census Bureau numbers are generally accurate. Please note that Obama adjusted that number he talks about down to 30 million when it was pointed out (correctly) that the 46.6 million number included illegal aliens. Also included in that number are the approximately 10.1 million uninsured who make more then $50,000 per year, 5 million childless working adults age 18 to 34 who are eligible for either a group health insurance plan or eligible to purchase insurance but choose not to do so, 4.3 million who are eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP but do not choose to participate. This leaves us with 10.5 million people who are legitimately uninsured. These are the people we need to help. This number is unarguably too high, but at approximately 3.5% of the US population, not nearly so dire. Again, these are the people we need to help.
• The primary reason given for lack of health insurance coverage in 2005 was cost (more than 50%), lost job or a change in employment (24%), Medicaid benefits stopped (10%), ineligibility for family insurance coverage due to age or leaving school (8%). Source: National Center for Health Statistics
Also true. Keep in mind these numbers are self-reported. To some people any cost at all is "too much" for something they think they don't need.
• The United States ranks 43rd in lowest infant mortality rate, down from 12th in 1960 and 21st in 1990. Singapore has the lowest rate with 2.3 deaths per 1000 live births, while the United States has a rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births. Some of the other 42 nations that have a lower infant mortality rate than the US include Hong Kong, Slovenia, and Cuba. Source: CIA Factbook (2008)
This is an often quoted statistic. On the surface it is true. Keep in mind, however, that the numbers used in the calculations are reported by the governments of the individual countries, then
calculated into a standard statistic. The problems with that are multiple. Accuracy - some governments deliberately underreport things like mortality rates due to a sense of shame or saving face -
think China and the underreporting and secrecy during the SARS and Avian Flu epidemics. Consistency - governments have different standards for what constitutes infant mortality. In many countries
seriously premature infants and/or infants with visible life threatening birth defects are not counted as they are not considered viable or even sadder, they are not yet considered people. In the US
every birth is counted. The US has a very high rate of fertility treatment babies. Because of the very nature of their conception, birth and risk of extreme multiples, these infants have a higher
mortality rate. Not too many poor people in Hong Kong, Slovenia and Cuba are undergoing fertility treatment, in-vitro fertilization, GIFT, etc.
• Approximately 30,000 infants die in the United States each year. The infant mortality rate, which is the risk of death during the first year of life, is related to the underlying health of the mother, public health practices, socioeconomic conditions, and availability and use of appropriate health care for infants and pregnant women. Sources: CDC and National Center for Health Statistics.
Agreed and already addressed - see above
• Two-thirds of non-elderly people without health insurance have jobs, and the number of uninsured people is steadily growing — 46.6 million according to a 2006 Census Bureau Report.
Agreed and already addressed - see above
• Three-quarters of Americans who declare medical bankruptcy had medical insurance when they became ill.
This is true with an important caveat. Bankruptcy filings have more to do with the societal implications of people living beyond their means then it does the state of health coverage in America. In the recent real estate insanity that gripped America, it became common for Americans to live far outside their means - borrowing against their homes and credit cards at an alarming rate, purchasing homes and cars above their abilities to repay and plunging headlong "creative financing". Many people were/are so overextended that any unexpected cost at all sent the house of cards into free-fall. If you have health insurance and you are living within your means, an unexpected illness should not send you into bankruptcy. Most health insurance plans have annual caps on how much you will be required to spend out of pocket. In many cases, if medical bills had not been the catalyst for financial ruin, something else would have been - an unexpected home repair for instance.
• People with incomes that are more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level accounted for one-third of the recent increase in the number of uninsured adults, and half that growth was among young adults aged 19 to 34.
Agreed - see above. Also, this group is known as the "young invincibles". They are notarious for believing that it "can't happen to them". They are young, strong, bullet-proof and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. They generally have access and means to health insurance, but believe that they are young and healthy and do not need to spend their money in this way. If they were formerly covered on their parent's policy, they have the legal right to COBRA that policy. They also are exempt from pre-existing condition clauses in private health insurance under HIPAA. In Canada (and elsewhere), these individuals would not have the choice to skip health insurance. Their wages would be taxed regardless of their wishes. This comes down to choice and personal responsibility. I work for a Fortune 100 company. My employer offers above average health care coverage to all employees. Employees can opt out of coverage and receive a cash bonus equal to what the company would have spent on health insurance. This is intended for employees who have health coverage through another means (spouse, parent, other employer, government, etc). The employee is counseled on this and signs a statement that they understand this. An audit was conducted earlier this year. Of the employees who opt out of healthcare coverage 90% were in the "young invincible" category. Of that 90%, 22% had health insurance, 78% had NONE. The cash bonus was not offered for 2010. We still had a large percentage of "young invincibles" opting out of health coverage - quite a few are angry that they are not going to receive their health insurance opt-out check.
There are a couple of key points that I think are important to consider in this conversation:
* The Canadian Health System does not cover illegal aliens living within its borders. You must have permanent residency status to obtain a health card. Personally, I don't think that requirement is at all out of line. It is however, inaccurate to suggest that Canada covers everyone without exception.
* The Canadian Health System varies greatly from Province to Province. What is covered under the UK system varies from one Health Care Trust to another. How is that different from the variation in health insurance policies available in the US? Canadians have basic health care coverage through the Medicare system. Many people purchase supplemental policies privately or through their employers. People in the UK can and do go outside of the NHS system and pay privately to be seen quicker. What this really comes down to is the fact that regardless of where you live, the amount of money that you are willing to put into the healthcare system directly correlates to the quality of care you receive.
* The media and a number of politicians report that large numbers of Americans are dying due to lack of health care coverage. Death or exacerbation of illness due to lack of care is unacceptable - it also happens everywhere, not just America. In the US, hospitals have an obligation to treat patients regardless of insurance status. Emergency rooms triage patients and see them in order of severity of symptoms/illness. Sometimes mistakes are made, or people get frustrated and leave, and people die. This happens all over the world, not just in the US. Sometimes people with chronic illnesses or worrying symptoms fail to follow up with their doctors because of lack of health insurance. They do have the option to go to the Health Department or a free clinic or pay out of pocket - many doctors will offer a discount for uninsured patients. The majority of drug manufacturers offer free or discounted medications to those in need.
*Some people are happy with the health system in Canada. You appear to be happy with your care, However, the reality is that not everyone is happy. THE CANADIAN PRESS SASKATOON - The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it. August 15, 2009 http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=cp_x081502A.xml&show_article=1
* Based on what I have observed on this forum, what I have observed in Family and friends living in Canada, and reports that cross my desk everyday (that I can't disclose here), wait times for care and services, as well as tests and procedures appear to be longer on average in government run systems then they are in most of the US and certainly longer then any wait time I personally have ever experienced. It is not unusual to read posts on this board about people getting appointments for things like MRI's and other tests many months into the future. One of my Canadian relatives became very ill Christmas time last year. He spent months going back and forth between the ER and his doctor. He was hospitalized multiple times. His doctor determined that he needed an MRI and referral to a specialist in February. Even though he was hospitalized several times after that, no MRI or specialist consultation took place. He finally got the MRI in July, saw the specialist in August, and had surgery in September. Recently, one of my kids needed an MRI. The pediatrician ordered it on a Monday, insurance approved it on a Tuesday, it was done in Wednesday and I discussed the results with the doctor on Thursday. I don't want to wait under a government run health care system.
Things are not as dire in the US as many have been led to believe. Do sick people suffer and sometimes struggle to get the care that they think they need, want, deserve? Undoubtedly YES. Is that fair? Absolutely not. Do sick people in Canada suffer and sometimes struggle to get the care that they think they need, want, deserve? Undoubtedly YES. Is that fair? Absolutely not. Do sick people in France, the UK or Japan suffer and sometimes struggle to get the care that they think they need, want, deserve? Undoubtedly YES. Is that fair? Absolutely not. I think you know where I am going with this. You can't please all of the people all of the time. There is not one system that will meet everyones needs or make everyone happy. Polling data suggests that most Americans don't want to live under a government run system.