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Americans forgo health care because of cost

November 14, 2008 by  

Healthcare costs pinch AmericansHealthcare costs in America just seem to keep rising – and patients could be paying the price.

A majority of chronically ill U.S. patients do not receive recommended care, fill prescriptions or see a doctor when sick due to costs – more than any of the other countries studied in a new survey.

The study, conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, found that over half of Americans went without care because of the cost.

Researchers surveyed chronically ill adults in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States and found that Americans were at a particularly high risk of going without care because of the costs associated with being sick.

Although the study notes that the U.S. did well in categories such as patient-centered care, one-third of Americans, more than any other nation in the survey, reported poorly coordinated care such as being given the wrong medication or receiving incorrect test results.

The findings were in line with a 2005 study from the Centers for Disease Control which found that 49 percent of uninsured adults with a chronic illness skipped care.

The 2005 CDC study also found that while the uninsured typically had less contact with health care providers, they still had large out of pocket expenses with 21 percent saying they had spent $2,000 or more over the previous year.

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  • Bob Livingston

    The root problem here is the cost of healthcare in the U.S.   The insurance companies are the biggest part of the problem.  Insurance companies only pay doctors a tiny faction of what is billed, forcing doctors and hospitals to continuously jack their charges higher and higher.  So insurance companies pay them only a tiny fraction of what is billed, and the cycle continues.

    The poor souls that don’t have any insurance don’t get the same breaks.  If you have to pay for your own healthcare expenses, you have to pay the full billed rate.  So where is the fairness in that?

    If healthcare providers and insurance companies didn’t play this game… healthcare costs would be only a fraction of what they are today, which would alleviate most of the problem for the uninsured.  –Bob.

  • Sam Deakins

    I bet if you gave everyone $5000 to purchase health care package, instead most would spend it on lottery tickets.  Cost is one thing and common sense in America is another.

  • Mung Lanctot

    Dear Bob,

    I am very troubled with our health care system.  We have all the technologies in the world, and yet only a  privileged few  get access to them.  Why can we have the same health system as the British people have.?              

  • Maggie

    A lot of the problem stems from the cost of malpractice insurance and claims filed that may or may not have merit.  Americans are probably allowed a lot more litigation rights than other countries.

  • Katherine Haag

    I’m caring for an older lady who was known in our community (along with her husband) to be well-off. –You’d think she would do okay with health care and all, wouldn’t you? It turns out she was robbed a number of times after her husband died; her children are only interested in what they can get out of her; and even the P.U.D. and utility company jack her prices up to ungodly amounts ($645/month for P.U.D. expenses when she uses almost no electricity–I know because there are days I am there early in the morning until late at night).

    So now she has 6 diseases and her medicine (when she can afford to buy it all) costs around $2000/month. She gets $1200/month social security ($700/month of which is garnished by the hospital to pay for a recent stay in the hospital.) Her money, which used to be so much, has recently been completely depleted, and because she has two houses, can get no help from anyone, government or otherwise.

    Trying to manipulate her into giving the homestead property to him, her son cut the water line to the other house so she couldn’t live there anymore, nor could she rent it out or sell it, and she had to buy another house just to have a place to live…

    It seems to me that the pharmacy companies that have a reputation of earning shareholders large amounts of money are the very same ones that gouge those same shareholders (if they are elderly or sick) when they NEED to obtain their products (drugs) in order to have decent healthcare. Why not just eliminate the drug companies’ shareholders altogether (no dividends would need to be paid out that way) and require pharmaceutical drug companies to sell drugs DIRECTLY to people who need them at a greatly reduced rate? I’m sure there’d be a bit of screaming going on by those who would prefer having the profits, but our elders and others who need better healthcare might have a better chance of survival. And unless we die early, we’ll ALL be old someday and will probably need drugs and such. Just one component of healthcare that needs to be attended to.


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