I'm stressed. I lost sleep over it last night.
Who knew the government's actions could affect me, one person, so much? I never imagined in my life, as an American citizen, that a vote by my representative's could be the deciding factor between financial survival and bankruptcy, security or chaos, healthy or not, medications or no, treatment or death.
I really think when the constitution states we have "The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" that includes a basic safety net of health care.
It's as simple as Maslow's heirarchy of needs, without basic needs being met for survival, such as life saving care, a person can not transcend to experience psychological needs such as the pursuit of happiness.
And as far as I know, Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs is the most scientific quantifiable ladder of psychological improvement accepted in the US.
Disagree? Go ask your therapist.
I can at least be thankful that most all of us agree that our current health care system is in drastic need of change.
The facts are clear:
The USA has the third highest public healthcare expenditure per capita. More money per person is spent on health care in the USA than in any other nation in the world, and a greater percentage of total income in the nation is spent on health care in the USA than in any United Nations member state except for East Timor.
We are the most expensive system in the world.
And Here is what we get for the cost:
Life Expectancy is ranked 50th in the world.
We are 41st in Infant mortality.
The USA is ranked 72nd (among the 150 United Nations Members) in overall quality of care. Cuba is 37th.
Half of all bankruptcies filed are due to medical debt.
We are paying the most for a failing system? And why is it failing?
Where the issue seems to lie in moving forward is the implementation and product, and this is likely because people are envisioning our current health care system with the future laws.
We can only hope that the best of what exists in health care remains and the rest is left behind. We've started this movement as a country by studying evidence-based best practices for quality care.
Hospitals have been working for years on campaigns such as "Save 100,000 Lives" to prevent medical errors and to streamline a process which allows patients to easily access care of their choosing.
What has been a major obstacle is the disjunction between health care providers/facility, reimbursement companies, and the government (which also works as a reimbursement company through Mediaid and medicare).
Hospitals are forced to hire more and more people to plow through red tape for monetary reimbursement that often does not cover the full cost of treatment and taking away from securing health care staff, which make each patient experience safe.
And what happens to the hospital's version of the medicare donut hole? The middle of "the sick cycle."
Well, they're stuck between a rock and a hard place having gotten what money they could from reimbursement and the patient. They then cost shift and write the expense off as a bad debt, placing the problem back squarely on the shoulders of tax payers.
The only ones making out here are the Insurance Companies. And whoa, do they profit.
In the midst of America's deepest economic recession in 2010, According to a report prepared by Health Care for America Now – based on annual reports filed with the Security and Exchange Commission – WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group, Cigna Corp., Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. posted combined profits of $12.2 billion, a 56% increase over calendar year 2008.
During the same period of time, the big five insurers covered 2.7 million fewer Americans.
Sounds like a good business to be in, if you're healthy, but most of us aren't. Over 50% of people report having a "pre-existing condition" that would disqualify them or increase their fees for health care coverage.Ugh, again, I'm getting sick just thinking about this.