Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Could Lack of Health Insurance be a Form of Population Control?

Jay Weaver, creator of the blog, other people's emergencies: random thoughts of an urban paramedic, talked about the 22 years of the utter heartbreak to the miraculous joy he's encountered as a paramedic on the streets of Boston on the NPR radio show, Here and Now. In the beginning of his career, Jay went on to describe a call from a mother, living in the poorest section of the inner city, whose child had had a bad cough for several weeks.

"At first", Jay said, "I did not understand why anyone would call a paramedic for a cough but I soon realized lack of health insurance gave her very little choice and that she was only trying to protect her child. "

"Why not walk?", said radio host, Robin Young.

Jay went on to explain, "The ambulance was the safest form of transportation due to the stray bullets so common in that area."

The mother and daughter Jay spoke of are not the only ones caught between the destructive path of illness and the destitution of poverty. Using hospital emergency as a form of "health insurance" is the only thing available to some uninsured people and only one of the many hidden costs to having so many uninsured citizens. By not getting the preventive care needed, the uninsured are much more likely to wind up in emergency rooms, where care is much more costly.

"People have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room." -- President Bush, addressing an audience in Cleveland.
Uh, Mr. President, emergency care is far more expensive than a doctor visit. Who do you think pays for the high cost of unnecessary emergency care? "We the people" do, of course and we pay out far more than we would if those same people who use emergency care were insured.

Lack of health insurance kills more people than homicide, most types of cancer, and six times the number of people who died on 9/11...well over 18,000 people annually. Why is this so? Insuring all our citizens is a relatively easy, cost the least amount of money to implement and would overall, not only enhance our quality of life but save a hell of a lot of money over time. America spends the most money on health care in the world yet ranks 37 out of 191 countries in quality of health care. "We the People" spend more than any other country on covering our citizens, however, not only do so many of our citizens lack coverage but our wealthy nation has a lower life expectancy than countries who spend much less.
“Lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States. Although America leads the world in spending on health care, it is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not ensure that all citizens have coverage.” —Institute of Medicine
"Things are getting worse," Maria Gomez said. "What we are seeing is a lot of people coming in who cannot qualify for government programs." These families earn too much to qualify for free care but don't make enough to pay for their own health insurance, she said.

Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont are the only states that have enacted and are implementing reform plans that seek to achieve near universal coverage of state residents. Twelve states, WA, OR, CA, CO, MN, WI, IL, NM, PA NY, CT, KS, are moving toward health care reform.

The World Health Organization (WHO) performance on level of health ranking measures how efficiently a system translates spending into overall health.

Recently, the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation compared health care across six countries.

"Overview: Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States consistently under performs on most dimensions of performance, relative to other countries. This report—an update to two earlier editions—includes data from surveys of patients, as well as information from primary care physicians about their medical practices and views of their countries' health systems. Compared with five other nations—Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom—the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives. The U.S. is the only country in the study without universal health insurance coverage, partly accounting for its poor performance on access, equity, and health outcomes. The inclusion of physician survey data also shows the U.S. lagging in adoption of information technology and use of nurses to improve care coordination for the chronically ill."

Could the lack of health insurance coverage in a country as wealthy and competitive as ours be an under-the-radar "Katrina" like program to control population growth at the lower end of the spectrum?

No way! That's crazy! Only those idiots, prone to conspiratorial thinking, could conceive of such a ridiculous theory. Rational people know there is a perfectly logical explanation such as the words 'health' and 'wealth' rhyme and therefore are compatible. The word 'poverty' rhymes with nothing.


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