Bill Moyers Journal (PBS)
Rose Ann Demaro, the Executive Director of the California Nurses Association, argued that calling America's approach to health care a "system" is innaccurate.
If you look at health care in America, there is no health care "system." There's a health care industry thats major objective is profit-making — which means not providing the patient all of the care that they need, discharging patients early, patients without insurance being treated differently than wealthy people, frankly. And that is the health care "system" in America. Those who can afford it get to live and those who can't suffer needlessly.
According to the U.S. Census, 47 million Americans don't have health insurance. In a 2005 article in the NEW YORKER, Malcolm Gladwell enummerated some of the consequences of being uninsured:
The leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States is unpaid medical bills. Half of the uninsured owe money to hospitals, and a third are being pursued by collection agencies. Children without health insurance are less likely to receive medical attention for serious injuries, for recurrent ear infections, or for asthma. Lung-cancer patients without insurance are less likely to receive surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. Heart-attack victims without health insurance are less likely to receive angioplasty. People with pneumonia who don't have health insurance are less likely to receive X rays or consultations. The death rate in any given year for someone without health insurance is twenty-five per cent higher than for someone with insurance. Because the uninsured are sicker than the rest of us, they can't get better jobs, and because they can't get better jobs they can't afford health insurance, and because they can't afford health insurance they get even sicker.
A recent Urban Institute study attributes as many as 20,000 deaths in the United States each year to lack of health insurance coverage and another study, conducted by Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, found that the United States leads nineteen top industrialized nations in overall preventable deaths, with 109.7 deaths for 100,000 people (between 75,000 and 100,000 deaths annually).
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