The State of Healthcare in America


We all know the healthcare system in the US is a mess. Our federal government is broken. And it seems there is a central character in our numerous problems: money. The privatization of prisons, hospitals, universities. It’s become not about people, but the almighty dollar.  Since when have hospitals been For Profit. I thought they were For Care of the Community. Instead we have board members, rich board members, who are getting paid to be on the board. They have no vested interest in whether people have healthcare. Doctors are overwhelmed by the paperwork required, and the limited time the insurance companies allow them per patient. Talk to your doctor, if you don’t believe me.

Ins No

From an article from the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI).

“The market-based health insurance system in the United States has caused a human rights crisis that deprives a large number of people of the health care they need.  The most visible problem is the 32 million people without health insurance; the most distressing is the number of preventable deaths – up to 101,000 people per year – simply due to the way the health care system is organized.”

“Since social determinants, such as race, income and environment, strongly influence who becomes ill and who receives access to quality care, the health care crisis disproportionately affects disadvantaged groups and under-resourced communities, such as people living in poverty, people of color, and immigrants.”

Overall, the “health care crisis is the result of the privatization and commodification of the U.S. health system, which reflects market imperatives and profit interests that devalue human needs, dignity and equality.”

According to the article 45,000 people die each year simply because they have no health insurance.  That’s a lot of voters! Apparently since they are poor, non-white, and often, immigrants, our federal government doesn’t see them as citizens. It seems our government doesn’t see them as human.Some 700,000 families go bankrupt each year trying to pay their medical expenses. Even with insurance, high co-pays and exorbitant hospital costs, it’s not surprising , especially when a catastrophic injury or illness hits.  Yet in 2009 the five largest insurance companies had a combined profit of $12 billion. Some of that money could have been used where needed, not to line the pockets of those who already have enough. (There are no poor people on hospital boards.)We also now have fewer doctors and nurses than other high income countries (WHO 2007).  WHO projects a shortage of 44,000 primary care doctors within the next 15 years (WHO, Health Affairs 2008). Fewer doctors because there is too much paperwork and not enough healing. According to an article from 2016 from Forbes:  One study showed physicians spent 27% of their time in their offices seeing patients and 49.2% of their time doing paperwork. Seems lopsided to me. I can’t blame them when many became a doctor to help people, not do endless reams of paperwork. Nurses are already badly needed, but there are too few nursing programs to put enough nurses to work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2014-2024, Registered Nurse (RN) is listed among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2024. The workforce is expected to increase, providing 439,300 new nurses. However, the Bureau also projects the need for 649,100 replacement nurses in the workforce bringing the total number of job openings for nurses due to growth and replacements to 1.09 million by 2024.

Meanwhile we have the GOP trying to strip most US citizens from receiving even minimal care. We must stop For Profit from becoming the norm in every conceivable business.  Seems the public schools are about the only thing not privatized (yet).

 

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