I've started reading Tom Daschle's book Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis. This is an important book, because Daschle is the newly appointed secretary of Health and Human Services. It's his depiction of and prescription for healthcare in America. It's concise but detailed and easy to read. You should buy it; really.
I'll be summarizing it here using the approach I used in Best Care Anywhere: highlighting as I read, then posting the highlighted bits here.
So far, his reporting on our current reality matches what I've been able to learn from my reading this year of books and blogs.
As I've learned in studying data reported by PCPCC, the US is the only nation in the industrialized world that doesn't have universal healthcare. Not surprisingly, our overall level of health is also worse, which is bizarre because as I've reported, our per capita spending is also the highest, by far – more than twice the industrialized world's average.
And that's part of why 48 million of us have no health insurance at all, leading to people avoiding getting care. Which spirals into severe episodes, despite the vast evidence that regular care avoids the crises.
Did you know medical bills have been reported to be the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US? I checked Daschle's assertion (I'm spot-checking as I go), and here it is. Bonus tidbit from that report, not in Daschle's:
"Surprisingly, most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance. ... 56% were home-owners. In many cases, illness forced breadwinners to take time off from work -- losing income and job-based health insurance precisely when families needed it most."And that was back in 2001, people. Watch what happens now. 533,000 jobs lost in November. And realize that this problem does not exist anywhere else in the industrialized world.
And their costs are lower. Everywhere but in America.
In parting, a presidential statement to ponder:
"Millions of our citizens do not how have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protectionof security against the economic effects of sickness. The time has arrive for action to help them attain that opportunity and that protection.A natural question is how things got this way, given that the situation is no better than after 63 years of action and the highest spending in the world. Comin' up.
"People with low or moderate incomes do not get the same medical attention as those with high incomes. The poor have more sickenss, but they get less medical care. People who live in rural areas do not get the same amount or quality as those who live in our cities."-- Harry Truman, 1945