The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

40% of Americans unable to handle serious medical problem

Most people know by now that some 40 million Americans have no health insurance whatsoever. Consumer Reports takes a look at the rest of the iceberg:

A new Consumer Reports study identifies the “underinsured” -- accounting for 24% of the U.S. population -- living with skeletal health insurance that barely covers their medical needs and leaves them unprepared to pay for major medical expenses. . . .

When added to the population of “uninsured” -- approximately 16% of the population -- a total of 40% of Americans ages 18-64 have, at best, inadequate access to health care. The report, published in the September issue, also finds that most employers are struggling to keep up while the insurance behemoths prosper from the misery. . . .

In the survey, the median household income of respondents who were “underinsured” was $58,950, well above the U.S. median. Twenty-two percent live in households making more than $100,000. Still, many of the “underinsured” don’t have the resources to keep up with the rising costs of deductibles and co-pays, so much so that 43% reported that they postponed going to the doctor because they couldn’t afford it.

A must-read article, and one more feat of Social Darwinism brought to you by the GOP. But at least they're protecting us from the commies, right? One executive paycheck at a time.

UPDATE: Another headline in today's news will convince even more people that I'm a Marxist. Which is sad, because I'd be quite happy with people adopting a less Friedman-esque approach to economics, i.e. admitting that laissez faire capitalism, just like Marxism, is imperfect.

U.S. hospitals are increasingly shutting down their burn centers in a trend experts say could leave the nation unable to handle widespread burn casualties from a fiery terrorist attack or other major disaster. . . .

Experts say burn centers are expensive to maintain and often lose money because they are staffed with highly specialized surgeons and nurses and stocked with sophisticated equipment designed to ease patients' excruciating pain, fend off deadly complications and promote healing.

While the numbers cited indicate only a 5% drop in the last three years, which probably doesn't constitute a national crisis, it certainly doesn't speak well of the health care available to Americans that one in five states has severely limited or no capacity to handle burn victims.