As they economy worsens, people are going to be forced to cut back and do without in ways that may shock you.
Healthcare is one luxury many Americans are ditching.
In United States healthcare is a luxury. We are the only industrialized nation that refuses to embrace the concept that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
We are burdened with a broken system which has steadily shifted costs away from the for-profit insurance industry and onto the shoulders of already heavily indebted American families. Year after year, as state insurance commissioners looked away, our premiums increased by draconian amounts (mine went up 18.5% this year), and our benefits were cut.
The federal government also looked away as the insurance industry wreaked havoc in our lives. We are at the point where most Americans have insurance in name only.
Why has government abdicated its role as a regulator of the predatory insurance industry and our protector of last resort? Because this industry spends millions and millions of dollars lobbying and in campaign contributions.
Now the day of reckoning for the United States has arrived.
As the economy collapses, and unemployment skyrockets, many Americans will find themselves forced to delay necessary healthcare. Though they may have so-called insurance, the high deductibles and huge out-of-pocket costs, make healthcare for tens of millions of our fellow citizens an unaffordable dream.
Some Americans are accessing medical care through Remote Area Medical. Its original mission was to bring medical care to Third World countries, but RAM found a huge need for its services in the United States.
As I often say, no need to believe me about how bad things are. Forbes is reporting that Lab testing companies are struggling financially as Americans postpone routine lab testing.
On one hand, laboratory testing companies are facing a dismal year as Americans put off routine tests because of the high cost and lack of health insurance.
. . .LabCorp, like other laboratory testing facilities, has been hurt by the decreased volume of patients using their services. As more people lose their jobs and subsequent access to health insurance, fewer are getting routine and even necessary testing done due to their high costs.
And I'm sure everyone remembers, kwickkick who explained the grim reality of what happens when you delay care. What really does happen when you suspect you may have a problem, but decide not to go to the doctor? Well, small and easily treatable problems, become big and potentially life threatening health crises.
Tragically, many Americans are in the same situation as kwickick. They need medical care but are either uninsured or like most of us, underinsured and fear huge medical bills and financial ruin, so they do without.
Cutting Back On Health Care
The recession has caused many people to re-examine their budgets, but for some Iowans the cutbacks can be hazardous to their health. A study examining health care during the recession shows doctor visits in the U.S. are down 15%, and one in nine people are limiting their medicine, taking pills every other day or in lower doses.
Janet and Charles Fillman dine at the Southside Senior Center several times a week, where money is the hot topic. Between them, the Fillmans have had a heart attack, multiple strokes and diabetes. That means a lot of medication. Janet hits her insurance gap almost every year, where she has to pay 100% -- last year $800 in one month alone.
John Mikovec takes pills that cost up to $4 each. That's enough to give some seniors a reason to stop taking medication, or just take them every other day. Mikovec says it's a thought he hasn't followed through on -- yet.
"If I did it I would do it as an experiment," Mikovec said.
Schedulers at metro doctor's offices have heard the excuses, and Dr. Mark Jones has seen patients try to avoid paying for an office visit.
And if you really want to hang your head in shame, The El Paso Times has a Seniors Fund which collect money to pay for dental care for seniors who cannot afford such a luxury. Why? Because as a society we have decided that the most vulnerable among us are disposable.
This criminal state of affairs is far beyond what a so-called civilized nation can endure any longer.
President Obama, as a down payment, you must commit to bring affordable and guaranteed healthcare to the American people in your inaugural address. You must do this for kwickkick and all those desperate Americans, who elected you.
Please tell President Obama that single payer is the only solution.
God help us if President Obama fails to deliver.