Fix it: Healthcare At the Tipping Point

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In the last ten years, the premiums for healthcare costs have doubled. No other expense has seen that great an increase over the same length of time. A worker earning minimum wage can work full time over a 12-month period of time and still not make enough to pay for healthcare benefits. Ironically, having healthcare insurance doesn’t necessarily entitle its owner to healthcare.

People within the age bracket of 50 to 64 are the least likely to have insurance because they are very expensive employees. It’s very unlikely that an employer would even consider hiring someone within that age bracket because it’s simply not good for business.

When a person’s total healthcare is dependent on his or her job, a whole host of problems are incurred. For instance it makes it very difficult to move to another job and if the person is laid off, it becomes a nightmare. Over 60% of people who file for bankruptcy state that the decision is associated with an increase in medical expenses. Most of these people actually had health insurance and paid their premiums, too. However, the out-of-pocket expenses were so high, they were unable to afford them. This is devastating and unfair. An employee that makes $19 per hour can’t afford for a family member to get sick.

Healthcare costs have gone up to 3 trillion dollars. There has been a reduction in consumers purchasing certain products and services, which have now become luxuries. This eventually puts a lot of companies out of business. All this is a result of the rising cost of healthcare. People can literally not afford to get sick these days.

As it is, hospitals in The United States have one of the shortest length of stays and health administrators are struggling to shorten it even more. The average citizen goes to the doctor about 4.2 times per year, whereas in Japan the average person goes 13 times. It seems like the system is set up to discourage people from using healthcare and getting the help they need.

Referrals are also very limited. Doctors no longer have the freedom to choose which professionals and specialists they prefer to work with. Instead they have to work with those who are in the patient’s insurance plan. On the other hand, after working with a doctor for years, many patients discover that he or she is no longer on any of the insurance plans offered by their employer.

It’s heartbreaking when families have to get together to decide how they will be able to afford healthcare for their loved ones. And it’s ridiculous when an insurance company is the one to decide when a patient has to leave the hospital or whether or not they will pay for treatment or for medication.

If the whole idea of getting sick scares you, watch this now.