America is on the brink of making some very important decisions as relates to healthcare in this country. Currently, our politicians are bouncing around various proposals for the future of healthcare in America. Most recently Congress reported “trimming” this healthcare bill to $1 trillion .The facts about our current healthcare system support the need for some serious realignment in order to cover the healthcare needs of more Americans.
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).
90% of Americans feel our current system needs fundamental changes. Two thirds of Americans feel that the federal government should be involved in the guarantee of universal healthcare for all citizens.
While I support the need for healthcare reform,I wonder if many Americans realize how the federal government has run the largest federal healthcare system in the country, The Veterans Adminstration Heathcare System?
In this article,VA Medical System in Shambles, Veterans Groups Say , veteran groups find fault with the errors and dangers that the VA has inflicted on thousands of our veterans. Recently, veterans were unknowingly exposed to hepatitis and HIV through poor cleaning techniques of equipment.(VA Blasted Over Tainted Procedures) Another 92 veterans were improperly treated for prostate cancer and given incorrect radiation doses. I think exposing our veterans to HIV/Heptitis is a risk none of our vets signed up for when they served our country.
While the VA has made ammends to solve this problem this doesn’t help those who have received negligent care. To be fair, there are many dedicated and competent workers in the VA system and to those due thanks are given. However, there seem to be all sorts of excuses why such grave oversights occurred….but the bottom line is that this federal system has failed to serve our veterans in the manner in which they deserve.
President Obama recently had the following to say about healthcare reform in America:
Ultimately, the debate about reducing costs — and the larger debate about health care reform itself — is not just about numbers; it’s not just about forms or systems; it’s about our own lives and the lives of our loved ones.
While the statistics on healthcare speak for themselves,so should the performance and negligence of the federal VA health care system. While we do need healthcare for all Americans, the VA is a reminder that our health and the lives of our loved ones is too valuable to put in the hands of the government.