Monday, October 16, 2006

Stand up, Look around, There's a Healthcare Crisis

This week ABC News and USA Today are focusing on America's Healthcare Woes. It is good that they are bringing these problems to the fore. I also hope that they emphasize that we DO already have the solution: Representative John Conyers (D-Mich) bill which would extend Medicare to all Americans.

Fast Facts on the U.S. Health Care Crisis

From ABC News:

Oct. 13, 2006 — Lack of universal health care is
often cited as one America's leading domestic concerns, yet states and the
federal government have failed to enact long-lasting, viable solutions for
reform and the United States remains the only industrialized country that does
not guarantee health coverage to all its citizens.
Here are a few statistics
that put the crisis in sharp relief:
FACT: One-third of adults (31 percent)
and more than half of all children (54 percent) do not have a primary care
doctor (National Medical Expenditure Panel Survey)
FACT: 46.6 million
Americans, (15.9 percent of Americans — about twice the population of Texas)
were uninsured in 2005. (U.S. Census - August 2006)
FACT: More than
two-thirds of uninsured adults in the United States, worked in 2005. In other
words, 39.8 million workers, who had no health care — more than the population
of Canada.
FACT: Federal spending for health care totaled more than $600
billion in 2005, or roughly one quarter of the federal budget. (U.S. Office of
Management and Budget)
FACT: The total medical expenditures for full- and
part-year uninsured in 2004 came to nearly $124 billion — more than the combined
appropriations in 2004 for Iraq and the anti-terror programs.
FACT: Of 23
industrialized countries, the United States had the highest infant mortality
rates. U.S. rates were similar to those of Poland and Hungary. (OECD,
Commonwealth Fund Scorecard, 2006)
FACT: The United States ranked among the
bottom of industrialized countries on healthy life expectancy at age 60 —
meaning Americans spend more years lived in poor health resulting from chronic
illness or disability. (OECD, Commonwealth Fund: Results from a Scorecard, 2006)
FACT: Barely half — about 49 percent — of adults receive recommended
preventive care and screening tests according to guidelines for their age and
sex. (Commonwealth Fund Scorecard 2006)
FACT: Close to 100,000 Americans die
annually from medical errors — more than double the number of Americans who die
annually in car crashes (Institute of Medicine).

Nurses have been saying this for years.

All this could be fixed with Universal Health Care like the kind proposed by California State Senator Shiela Kuehl (who's bill was passed by the Legislature, but vetoed by Schwarzenegger, much to his shame) and the kind embodied in a bill proposed by Congressional Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) which would extend Medicare to all Americans.


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