Thursday, June 04, 2009

Do You Need More Evidence?

A new report by Harvard University and Ohio University underlines the fact, that most of us already know, that the U.S. health care system is fundamentally broken. Sixty two percent of all bankruptcies are attributable to illness in the family and even a more telling figure is that of those, 78% did have medical insurance! Anyone who questions the need for radical reform of the health insurance industry or the need for a national single payer system is an idiot. What's even worse is that that is a 50% increase from just 8 years ago!

Medical bills or illness contributed to more than 62 percent of personal bankruptcies in 2007, a new study says, showing a nearly 50 percent increase from 2001 and not even reflecting the growing number of people who are losing their jobs and insurance in the recession.

The national study by researchers at Harvard University and Ohio University follows their five-state 2005 study that found medical problems contributed to at least 46.2 percent of bankruptcies in 2001. When identical definitions are applied, the share of bankruptcies involving medical issues has risen 49.6 percent since then.

“The U.S. health care financing system is broken, and not only for the poor and uninsured,” said the new report, which will appear in the August issue of the American Journal of Medicine and online today. “Middle class families frequently collapse under the strain of a health care system that treats physical wounds, but often inflicts fiscal ones.”

Medical bankruptcies will total an estimated 866,000 this year and involve 2.3 million Americans, based on the current bankruptcy filing rate, the report says.

[...] “Private health insurance is a defective product, akin to an umbrella that melts in the rain,” said lead author Dr. David Himmelstein, associate professor of medicine at Harvard. “Unless you’re Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy.”

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