Chuck Oates

Norman, OK, USA

Monday, March 19, 2007

Only 15.3% of US Citizens
Are without Health Insurance--Hooray!

All of us who are either without health insurance or who are enduring $1,000/month payments for health insurance with $2,500 /year/ person deductibles are really happy, no doubt, to know that only 15.3% of the US population is un-insured (44.8 million people), instead of the 15.9% originally reported.  See the American Academy of Nursing Practitioners SmartBrief excerpt below. Either figure is a tragedy and a travesty in a developed, industrialized country.

Sue and I are sitting here waiting to have any sort of big medical problem wipe out our entire life savings and investments.  It's not difficult at all to run up a $1 or 2 million dollar tab with severe heart attack, cancer, or CVA (stroke) occurrences, and our high-priced, high-deductible insurance pays, in reality, about half of any medical costs after the deductible is satisfied.  It doesn't take an actuary to figure out that any such an occurrence is going to financially wipe out almost anyone.

I sympathize to the point of empathy with those of you who are students and ineligible for your parents' health insurance, if any.  That means that, almost by definition, you're without health insurance in any form.  At least Sue and I have an insurance card.  That means that, for the moment anyway, we can get in at a regular hospital and survive the "wallet biopsy" that determines whether you'll stay there or be shipped to University as a guinea pig for the OU interns/residents to practice on.  For those without any insurance, there's no option.

We Americans are a continuing source of amazement to our European and British Commonwealth brothers for being so backward and obstinate.  You should see the look on Australians' faces when our health (non-)care system is described to them.  Surprise, shock, head-shaking, and finally pity are frequently expressed.  I've described it and seen the reactions more than once.

This issue, identified as a looming problem for decades, should have been resolved long ago, as it has been in the rest of the industrialized world.  Apparently our President, governors, and legislators, both Federal and local, are busying themselves playing power politics (not to mention selling the government to the highest bidder) at the expense of the health of our citizens. Perhaps voting them ALL out of office would be a good start at a solution to the problem. 

Yes, that hubbub you hear in the background is the sound of simmering revolution coming to a boil.  No weapons will be required; the sixty-and-over set VOTES.  So should you!


Prof. Oates

P.S.  Guess I'd better go get on the treadmill now and see if I can put off the inevitable as long as possible.  Have a nice day!  --CLO




Census: Uninsured figures overstated
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that due to a computer programming error, it has been overstating the number of people without health insurance since 1995. The reissued figures show the number of people without health insurance in 2005 was 44.8 million, or 15.3% of the population, not 46.6 million, or 15.9%, as was originally estimated.  --
Los Angeles Times/Associated Press (3/24)



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