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The Doctor Is Out

Jul 12, 2008
In 2007, more than 20% of Americans reported not getting or delaying needed medical care in the previous 12 months—up from 14% in 2003. The report is from the Center for Studying Health System Change, and is entitled “Falling Behind: Americans' Access to Medical Care Deterioriates, 2003-2007,” Though as usual the worst-served in the U.S. population were the low-income children, one surprising finding was that “insured people experienced a greater percentage increase in unmet medical needs compared with uninsured people—a 62 percent increase for the insured vs. a 33 percent increase for the uninsured.”

We spend per capita twice as much ($7,129) on health care in the U.S. than any other industrialized nation.1 And yet we are becoming more and more anxious about our health care as each year passes. Almost 50 million people—one-sixth of the population—is without coverage at all, and the rest of us are finding ourselves increasingly at the end of long waiting lists for specialist-based or even primary care.

Single-payer, government-managed health care is the only system that promises to deliver a reasonable degree of economy and efficiency to a system run wild. However, neither leading presidential candidate has come out for it, because, once again, it would involve going up against the very corporations that put them where they are—in their candidacies for the presidency. Though a majority of the public wants it, and many, if not most, doctors would welcome a system that wasn't burying them in administrivia, the corporatocracy will not allow it. How bad do things have to get? How high do our co-pays have to go? I guess we'll be able to watch and see, because there's no white knight on the horizon (except Nader, of course) willing to do battle with the medical establishment.
1Physicians for a National Health Program, http://www.pnhp.org/, accessed July 5, 2008.
tags: Health

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