Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why pay more when you can be sick for free?

this image is about as stupid as our health care system.

Some important news about women's health care came out this week (full story here):
Most working-age women in the United States have too little health coverage, and often forgo needed care because of cost, U.S. researchers said on Monday. They found that seven out of 10 women have no insurance, not enough insurance or are in debt because of medical bills.
Seven out of 10? Yikes. The same story goes into more detail:

The Commonwealth Fund team said rising health costs hit women harder because they have lower average incomes and spend more on healthcare than men, and because they use the health system more often than men.

(The report) found that 70 percent, or 63.8 million, working-age women are uninsured, underinsured, have medical bill problems or medical debt, or did not access needed care because of cost. That compared with 59 percent, or 51.9 million, working-age men.

The team also found that 52 percent of women were more likely to leave a prescription unfilled, skip a recommended medical test or treatment, or fail to seek needed medical care. That compared with just 39 percent of men.

And they found that 45 percent of women had medical debt or reported problems paying medical bills, compared with 36 percent of men.
Speaks volumes about our health care industry that that many women are uninsured or underinsured. I'm assuming that people (well, women in this case, but I'm sure men do it too) often skip prescriptions or treatment because of lack of insurance/money. It makes sense that women use the health care system more than men, with all the OB/GYN and boobie business we have to deal with, and I'm guessing there's some truth to the myth that men don't go to doctors unless they absolutely have to. (Also seems like it would help if women made the same wages as men, to give us a fair starting-out point.)

Coming out a few days before this report was news that Sen. John Kerry introduced the Women's Health Insurance Fairness Act. The bill sounds like a good one: it would prevent insurers from charging more, denying or limiting coverage based on gender or pregnancy and would require maternity coverage. (The outrage here? That we have to actually legislate this.) I'll be keeping an eye on the bill to see if it gets anywhere. My guess is no. But with Obama trying to make changes in the health care industry, let's hope something like this is implemented.


Razor said...

I think we're really at the breaking point when it comes to health care in this country. I'm so fucking sick of this argument that any private business is better than the government. Yeah, we all hate going to the DMV, but I can think of at least a dozen private enterprises that are just as bad, if not worse.

The government has to step in with these insurance companies, to avoid shit like this and all the other nonsense they pull. I certainly don't have the answers, but I know if EVERY other modern nation on the planet can figure out some form of universal health care, surely America can too, right? I mean c'mon, we're supposedly the greatest nation in the world, but when it comes to providing health care, we're sharing company with places like Kazakhstan, Colombia and all of the under-developed nations in Africa. There's no excuse for this.

Rosie said...

If I could post an image here, it would be this one:


But stupid Blogger says no.

Bruce said...

Great stuff. As it happens, I'm going out this week to see family in New Mexico, where I'm going to lecture my little sister about her need to quit smoking (ahem ... everybody should, and stop bitching about The System). And I'm going to remind her that our mother died not just from cancer, but from fear and ignorance (she wouldn't get a colonoscopy because they're icky).

But my sister is also ignorant. She chooses to be self-employed (day care), which is fine as far as it goes, but she gets NO HEALTH CARE INSURANCE by doing that. She also, inexplicably, is a hard-core anti-liberal (not so much conservative, you see -- just anti-liberal ... the TV is on a lot, I think; you can guess to which channel). She's a classic American example of a person who votes against her own self-interests. Actually, I'm not even sure she votes ... she'll probably even complain to me that New Mexico went for Obama. Sigh.

But I do hope I can at least get her to get to the doctor. Without yelling at her. Much.


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