Commentary

Make healthcare 'fixers' use any new system

National Health insurance has been one of the main topics in the media for the last couple of weeks. Seems as though the President has now backed off his urging that the bill be passed before August. It might be a good idea to take our time on this one.

There is little doubt that health care in the United States needs some fine tuning. Personally, I believe that we have some of the best health care in the world. We also have the most expensive.

According to some information we spend twice as much per person as the average of other large developed nations. We spent $6,714 in 2006 compared to an average $3,414 per person for other large developed countries. The figures for 2008 exceeded $8,000 per person in the U.S.

U.S. health spending has grown more than any other industrialized country in the world. Since 1970 the cost of health care has grown at twice the rate of inflation and in the 1990s and early 2000s has grown at three times the rate of inflation.

One of the largest causes of bankruptcy in the country today is caused by medical costs. In a 2004 study out of Harvard University results showed that between 46 and 54 percent of all debtors cited at least one medical cause of their bankruptcy.

According to a June 4 article in the American Journal of Medicine, medical bills contributed to more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies. The article also states, "Most victims are middle class, well educated and have health insurance."

"This study provides further evidence that the US health care system is broken," according to James E.Dalen, M.D., M.P.H., University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson. "Medical bankruptcy is almost a unique American phenomenon, which does not occur in countries that have national health insurance."

Those without insurance are also hard hit and faced with not getting adequate medical care in some instances. Medical costs also affect county taxpayers. To date Milam County has spent over $500,000 on the state mandated Indigent Health Care program.

You can cite whatever reason you want and blame whoever you want, but the reality is that health care in our country has some real problems. We make free health care available to illegal aliens and others who have no insurance, yet middle class, well-educated folks with health insurance are going into bankruptcy. What is up with that?

I do not have the answer, and I am not sure that what is going on in Washington in the way of a national health plan is the answer either.

However, I do have an answer to make sure that whatever comes out of the national health care debate will be the best it can possibly be for all of us. Just make sure that everyone, including the President, and all members of Congress have to be on the plan, and believe me it will be great.

fsummers@co.milam.tx.us


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2009-08-06 digital edition



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