Broken moral compass within healthcare

While President Trump promised “insurance for everybody,” the C.B.O. projects that if the Republican plan took effect today, 14 million more people would be uninsured next year, and by 2026, the number of uninsured would be about double what it is today.  It’s a shame that in a country as great as ours we can’t find a way to ensure equal healthcare for everyone.

Uninsured Americans cost the American healthcare system an additional $49 billion each year. Only 12% of uninsured families pay their hospital bills in full. This includes families making over $88k a year.

Decreasing the number of uninsured is a key goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which extends Medicaid coverage to many low-income individuals in states that have expanded and provides Marketplace subsidies for individuals below 400% of poverty. The ACA’s major coverage provisions went into effect in January 2014 and have led to significant coverage gains. As of the end of 2015, the number of uninsured nonelderly Americans stood at 28.5 million, a decrease of nearly 13 million since 2013 .

Studies repeatedly demonstrate that the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases. One in five (20%) adults without coverage say that they went without care in the past year because of cost compared to 3% of adults with private coverage and 8% of adults with public coverage.

Lacking insurance coverage puts people at risk of medical debt. In 2015, nearly half (45%) of uninsured adults said they owed money on at least one medical bill. Medical debts contribute to over half (52%) of debt collections actions that appear on consumer credit reports in the United States and contribute to almost half of all bankruptcies in the United States. Uninsured people are more at risk of falling into medical bankruptcy than people with insurance.

The Institute of Medicine found that 18,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have health insurance. Many more suffer serious health problems.  This is totally unacceptable.

Perhaps what troubles me most is the silence of the pharma industry.  Rather than join in the debate, they believe that silence is best, since they too have been under attack for high drug prices.  I can’t understand why the pharma industry doesn’t come together and make a simple promise to patients that “nobody will ever be denied our medication because they cannot afford it”.  “We will find a way to get our medications to everyone who needs it but can’t afford it even if it means a decline in profits”.

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