The United States will spend 2.7 Trillion on health care this year despite having 46 million uninsured and millions more underinsured (those of us who spend more than 10% of our income on healthcare).
Hospitals in the United States will donate 65 billion dollars in healthcare in the form of charitable donations and bad debt write offs.
The most recent national unemployment rate is 8.1%. This number was reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistic on March 6 2009.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: The number of unemployed persons increased by 851,000 to 12.5 million in February, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by about 5.0 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.3 percentage points. Please see the Bureau of Labor Satistics May News Release http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm for the complete picture.
Despite the bleak employment forecast, “The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits, as several influential lawmakers and many economists favor, to help pay for overhauling the health care system” (Calmes & Pear, The New York Times, March 15, 2009, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29703278).
There is a significant possibility that taxing employers health plans could cause the repercussion of employers refusing to even offer employee health benefits.
There are plenty of unemployed able-bodied Americans willing to work solely for a paycheck. Health care is a luxury they can’t afford.
At the same time big corporations and businesses are struggling and looking for possible ways to cut costs without layoffs.
If the option is between having losing a paycheck and losing health insurance, many people will opt to go without health care, especially if they are young and relatively healthy.
However, this could cause a public health nightmare equal to that of the oil crisis. However, the crisis would be seen solely on American soil outside hospitals and clinics, in the school system, and in our neighborhoods.
If it was scary thinking you may freeze during the winter and be unable to drive to work due to the costs of oil, consider how scary it would be to think you may not be able to receive chemotherapy or surgery for cancer or antibiotics for your child’s strep throat, even if the consequences for them could be kidney failure.
Clearly, the money to reform the health care system exists. If 2.7 trillion is all ready being spent on the current system and 65 billion is being expended yearly by hospitals, then there is money for universal healthcare.
We just need to know exactly where this money is coming from and where it is going.
A clear step would be to identify how much our current system actually costs for the product we are receiving.
It’s time to look at the numbers and start a major accounting overhaul.
I know this dose of reality is hard to swallow. Some strong medicine is needed to cure this problem.
We Americans are on the right path, the first step in any twelve step program is to admit there is a problem, we do know there is a problem.
Good news is, We know our health care system needs to be reformed. In the process of reform, I think our system could be revolutionized.
Have a good week.
Have a good week.