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The Healthcare Crisis in America

Updated on September 19, 2012
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Somewhere along the way, America’s healthcare became big business. The general practitioner that took care of generations of families disappeared, and the high priced physician specialist became the new normal. Insurance companies have denied people health insurance due to pre-existing conditions, while CEOs of insurance companies take home enormous fees and millions of dollars in bonuses. Insurance companies act as middle-men, and charge fees for their services, advertisement and marketing, and administrative costs. Healthcare for all is threatened by inequality, and those who don’t have it will eventually affect the people that do have health insurance.

Eventually, Most People may Lose Their Health Insurance

Like a row of dominos, health insurance premiums will continue to rise until few will be able to afford it. The uninsured wait a long time to seek treatment and use the emergency room as a physician’s office. They go to the hospital sicker and need much more care than people who can afford to get treatment early. The hospital can’t collect the fees from the uninsured, so the people who pay their premiums have to pay the difference. According to USA Family, in 2011, health insurance premiums rose 10 percent nationally. A family of four now pays about $16,000 a year in employee based health care coverage. Obviously, a universal healthcare plan must be implemented to ensure everyone will have coverage, even those who do have healthcare coverage.

America is far from the Standard in Healthcare

America used to set the standard for healthcare, now, the United Nations rank the United States as 50th in infant mortality, the highest maternal mortality ratios than most of the countries in Europe, and higher than several countries in Asia and the Middle East. As other countries have managed to decrease their mortality ratios, America has doubled their ratios from 1990-2008.

The US Spends the Most Money on Healthcare in the World—86 Billion Dollars a Year

Public health is not only declining in the U.S., but it is a matter of a health crisis. Many people have lost their jobs and can no longer afford the premiums, or their employers can no longer afford the required contribution to the premium. People are having a difficult time paying their mortgage and feeding their family. The current trend for families is to insure the children, while one or both parents go without coverage. Almost 50 million people don’t have health care coverage, while 40 million more have substandard health insurance.

Most People without HealthCare Work 40 hours a Week or More

Almost 60 percent of people without health insurance are working fulltime, and most have families and young children. In “Dying for Coverage,” by Families USA, it is reported that 72 Americans die each day because they don’t have health coverage. That’s about 2,175 that die from preventable disease every month. The Institute of Medicine, in 2002, reported that over 20,000 people died between the ages of 22 and 64 because they didn’t have health insurance.

Preventative Care is Non-Existent for Many

The new technology costs much more for diagnostics, surgery and treatment. MRIs, CAT Scans and nuclear medicine may cost 1000s of dollars for a cancer patient or a stroke victim and without insurance, the ability to pay is impossible for most. The uninsured pay full price because they can’t negotiate discounts on charges as insurance companies do. They are forced to forego preventative care and don’t receive screenings to catch disease processes early enough to save their lives. As a result, premature death from preventable or treatable disease is increasingly common in America.

Bankruptcies from Illness in the United States

According to the American Journal of Medicine, 60 percent of bankruptcies were filed in 2007 due to illness, as compared to 46 percent in 2001. People maxed out their insurance, or lost it due to the inability to work from disease or injury, and lost their life savings and property. America is the only industrialized country that can produce financial ruin to those that are suffering or battling an illness.

The Affordable Health Care Act

In July of 2014, millions of Americans will be allowed to pay for healthcare insurance. Health insurance companies will no longer be permitted to deny people coverage that have pre-existing conditions or charge them higher than usual insurance premiums. People will be able to cover their children, and themselves. Young people will be able to get healthcare and be covered by their parents insurance until they are 26 years old. Medicare recipients won’t have to choose between food on the table and their expensive medications. Insurance premiums will eventually decline, and people can foster a community of health equality.

A Decline in Health Insurance Premiums

According to the Congressional Budget Office predictions, the Lewin Group and the Urban Institute both agree that the Affordable Health Care Act will reduce overall health care costs and save the federal government money. In approximately a decade, more than 400 billion dollars will be saved and about 40 million dollars a year in additional savings from eliminating large fees from the health insurance market.

About the Author

eHealer is an expert author and professional nurse with a masters degree in nursing research. With over 25 years experience as a registered nurse in patient care and nursing education, eHealer has written valuable online information for the past 12 years on health and wellness, scientific research and chronic disease. She continues a philosophy of providing responsible, factual, and evidenced-based information that provide health consumers with the best health information to make useful and important healthcare decisions.

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    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      Hello eHealer

      One insurance company has 900 million current fees in 270 geographic zip codes. Some of it makes sense because of the cost of living in different zips but, the bottom line the insurance only pays a fraction of the billing amount.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello IB, thanks for the visit. I didn't realize the URC went by zip codes. Thanks for the info, your comments are much appreciated.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      eHealer

      I forgot to mention the URC, Usual, Reasonable and Customary. Block payments made by zip codes, as if all doctors are equal. It is like bargaining for something in Tijuana.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks Laurinzo, I just tell the facts as I research them. It's so nice to be appreciated! God bless you to, Laurinzo

    • profile image

      Laurinzo Scott 5 years ago

      ehealer, thank you for a very important ,and fact-filled hub. This one is definitely worth saving, re-reading and sharing

      God bless you

      Laurinzo

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello KT, I am so sorry to hear that. This country is becoming a third world country so fast and people like your son are paying the price of a healthcare system that is not affordable or accessible. I hope he does seek medical care no matter what the circumstances, your health is the most important asset you can have. Thanks for sharing your personal experience and excellent comments.

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 5 years ago from Texas

      My husband works for an airline (23 years) and pays a lot of money each month for healthcare for our family. He pays a lot more now than he did just a few years ago, however, the insurance doesn't cover nearly as much as it did before.

      One of our sons is 22 and in college. He also works part time (35 hrs a week, so they don't have to worry about providing insurance for him). He had to be hospatalized last spring for 4 days. Thanks to Obama (and I'm not a Democrat or a Republican) our insurance still covered him. Still he has over $4000.00 in bills that insurance didn't cover. The total bill was over $40,000.00! The poor kid has tried so hard to have perfect credit, and to pay for college, now these bills are threatening to him.

      If he gets sick or has an injury again, I just hope and pray I can still talk him into seeking treatment before it kills him.

      Great hub. Voted Up and more.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Great point Tips, people are not empowered to shop for healthcare and comparison shop. Healthcare is a human right, and not tool to get rich on. People who become sick without insurance lose their monetary value and denote a society the supports a compassionless community. Illness in itself describes a vulnerable human being that is dependent upon others in an established community. How do we expect are children to obey laws and respect society if they are not invested in a shared community of unity? What is in it for them? Thanks Tips, your words are in unison with mine!

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 5 years ago from New York

      Great hub! Many people don't realize how tenuous their access to healthcare has become. With just one layoff, millions of Americans could find themselves without insurance. And as you noted, many Americans working full time have no insurance. While I am usually a strong advocate of our capitalistic system, our history has shown that this system does not work for healthcare. Its not realistic to expect people suffering from acute health problems to comparison shop between doctors and hospitals. And even if they try to comparison shop, the doctors and hospitals usually refuse to even disclose what their charges will be. Government intervention is needed to even the playing field between sophisticated healthcare providers and their customers. As every other developed country has found, government intervention reduces healthcare costs while improving outcomes. Hopefully we will figure that out before only the wealthy can afford it.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Green Lotus, you make very valid points, and all of them are the price of making big business off the backs of people who are ill. Thanks for your appreciated comments. The AMA has always fought alternative medicine. Since the witch trials of Salem, when people who practiced herbal medicine were called witches in order to get doctors accepted in the communities. History just repeats itself. Thanks!

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      As you say, it's not just the cost of private insurance that's killing our healthcare system, it's also the fact that doctors must charge higher fees to cover their own liability insurance. They order unnecessary tests to cover themselves (not the patient). They prescribe outrageously expensive drugs that are often more harmful than good. They are compelled to join elite provider groups like MDVIP just so they can provide more personalized care without the bureaucratic nightmares of HMO restrictions. All this, plus the fact that the AMA is waging a private battle against alternative medicine....the list seems endless.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Yes, and most people don't examine their hospital bills, my favorite item on a hospital bill is "standby oxygen," which means you didn't use it but it they charged you for it's availability. Unfair practices and fraud, it's considered normal. Thanks Mhatt, I appreciate your comments.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Great report! Because of personal experience, I know that hospital billing practises need to be investigated. Twice I was billed (2011) I was billed for services not rendered.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thank you Rajan for your kind words. We have spoken about healthcare in your country before, and I did a little research on the subject. Your healthcare is in bad shape to, mostly due to the lack of access. I can't believe in 2012 we have not found away to provide people with basic human rights. Let's hope for a better tomorrow. Thanks Rajan.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      An eye opener article. Medical treatment costs have shot up all over the world and insurance premiums are hitting the roof. The percentage of people who can afford medical treatment are reducing rapidly.

      In India, state offered healthcare to all is virtually non existent while private insurance is way too expensive to cover the killer diseases. Even normal private health insurance is expensive for the poor.

      State offered health insurance is only offered to those in government service but the facilities and services need a lot to be desired here.

      The Affordable Health Care Act does seem a good thing to bring in to offer better reach of healthcare and lowering of health insurance premiums.

      Wonderfully informative hub, Deborah.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks Glimmer, I am so glad you found it compelling. It is a real problem and soon needs a solution. As premiums soar because of the uninsured uncompensated dollars, everyone is in danger of losing their healthcare. It is imperative that we support the Affordable Care Act and find relief for our communities.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks Annerivendell, I appreciate your support!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Interesting and somewhat scary hub. Hard to believe that 60% of full time workers don't have healthcare. I've always been fortunate to date that my jobs offered insurance. I hope it always stays that way. Good hub!

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Interesting Hub and well written. Voted up.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      IB, Oh you know it. Congress and the senate have amazing benefits that they don't pay a dime for. And has we have found out, they don't pay taxes either. Thanks IB!

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      eHealer

      One thing, government employees have excellent health benefits and they don't need nor are they affected by Obamacare. It is wrong for the government to take better care of their employees, than the private sector that they tax to death.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Rjsadowski, I am so sorry you lost your family, and my heart goes out to you. Private insurance is still an option for those who can afford it, but others need an option. I know some people are against the Affordable Care Act, but how can we justify people dying like your family. I just wish people could see more situations like your. I don't think everyone really sees what is going on in the healthcare system.

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      Private health insurance is not the answer. It isn't Working. private insurance returns only fifty cents on every dollar of premiums paid. The rest goes for profits, outrageous salaries and huge buildings. Goverment run Medicare returns 95 cents on every dollar. We can no longer afford private health insurance in this country. I lost my brother and my father too young because they couldn't afford PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks IB, I am so glad you came by. Yes, I know it's controversial, but I have seen too many people suffer. Good people that raised their kids the best they could, paid their taxes, drove the speed limit and tried their best to do the right thing, die because they could no longer afford insurance, or were forced out by insurance companies. It is my way of venting my outrage for the way people and children are dying in a country with the best healthcare resources in the world.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      eHealer

      Great hub, but you know my feeling on the Obamacare.

      I agree that healthcare is a big for profit industry, and while paying for those that get the care for free is humanitarian, the increased premiums for health insurance prevent many from getting the insurance, so it is a downward spiral.