Why Americans Can’t Afford Health Care: A Must Read

14 Apr

What happened to the Hippocratic Oath?

Yes, another article about health care.  I need to thank TSM follower Jen Rhee for inspiring me to compose this article and for collecting data for the lovely graphs. While you take the time to really examine the graphs you will notice where we fail miserably as Americans. Please keep in mind issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, power, and privilege!  The many intersections of oppression continue to be insurmountable barriers to getting health care.  Again, the Affordable Care Act is a very small but very significant move in the right direction. Currently, everyone in Congress has no worries about health care coverage.

Action Steps: All of us need to take action here and to elect public officials, servants that agree that being a human being merits health care coverage!  Please, I strongly encourage you to take a close look at these graphs!

Decoding Your Medical Bills
Created by: Medical Billing and Coding Certification


19 Responses to “Why Americans Can’t Afford Health Care: A Must Read”

  1. prideinmadness April 14, 2012 at 9:38 am #


    As a Canadian it pains me to hear that many Americans can’t afford healthcare! It’s not perfect in Canada and it does vary by province but I can still do many things without having to worry about the cost.

    After watching Michael Moore’s “Sicko” I became very upset since my 3 of my cousin’s live in the USA. I don’t want anything to happen to them, especially when there’s a high possibly that the constant putting off of tests for my Aunt that she eventually died from cancer despite all that was done for her in Canada (by the time she came back to Canada she had been feeling like crap for over a year).

    It’s a right to be healthy. Money shouldn’t dictate that right.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 14, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      As always, I love your comments. You are spot on when you say, “It’s a right to be healthy. Money shouldn’t dictate that right.” Let’s hope Americans can get their minds around that! Health Insurance should not be tied to employment!

      • James Queale April 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

        I love this graph as well. It is hard to deny facts when they stare you in the face. Like @prideinmadness said, our Canadian healthcare is not perfect (no system is), but at least no one has to stress about getting treated.

        For example, Tom (here in the US) had got a bit of an infection and he called the clinic for an appointment. They only had an opening two months later. Nuts! In Canada, the moment I had a tickle in my throat, off to the clinic. It was free! If you happen not to have coverage (being a visitor, etc) it only cost $30 to get checked out.

        When Tom visited me in Canada a couple years ago, he had some pains and went to the hospital. He got tests and was there for about 8 hours. The bill came to $250. When Tom went to the clinic here in the US about a year ago, just for a check up. It was over $200. He was there for 15 minutes and a few questions. Again, nuts!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

        Jamie, we could learn a lot from our neighbors to our North.

      • prideinmadness April 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

        We have private health insurance also and I think it’s fairly affordable.None of the pre-existing condition stuff. My partner used private insurance while he was unemployed.

        I’m grateful that he put me on his work insurance because I’m no longer covered under my parents now that I’m out of school. I would jokingly say “I feel like an American” but that was just because I could no longer go to the dentist. There was still a lot of could do that many in the USA cannot since my province covers basic healthcare at the least.

        Don’t fear “socialism”!!!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

        If only socialism would come our way!

  2. Christine Noble April 14, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    There are two major economic factors fighting against our getting single payer here. The health insurance industry, an unnecessary, for profit middle man makes billions off of the situation. They can make whatever claims they want about “oh, our profits aren’t that high, really” but no one ever asks what salaries the boards of directors draw for their “services” driving down the profits for the shareholders and up the costs for the consumers.
    Second, the AMA (by no means the only association of doctors, the AAP actually supports it) fights single payer tooth and nail. The AMA is a coalition of grossly overpaid specialists that want to keep us in a consumer-business model in health care to keep their insanely high wages (they are the reason that graph is so high here, by and large physicians make about the same as they do elsewhere) by keeping it for profit and by discouraging preventative medicine to keep demand for their skills high.

    Both these groups manipulate the various social factors that keep us from a truly humane health care system. They promote objectivism, distrust of government, and scare tactics regarding socialism (as well as keep people ignorant about socialism.) It’s an uphill battle against all this, but one we have to fight.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      To prove how spot on you are, Christine, look at how many new hospitals are being built. Where is the money coming from to build all of these hospitals?

  3. James Queale April 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    If America got single-payer healthcare, I bet you after a short time a lot of people would STFU about how awful “socialized” medicine is. Sadly, with how divisive congress is, I don’t see a ray of light for the soon to be future.

  4. nevercontrary April 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    I can tell you exactly why republicans would love these graphs. It shows how you can become rich by getting into the healthcare business. And they have convinced half of america that one day they will be fabulously wealthy, and when that does not happen whose fault is it? The damn liberals taking their money. I swear it is like a 1950s cartoon.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      Yes, it is like a 1950’s cartoon come to life:(

      • nevercontrary April 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

        It’s that damn tv’s fault. American Life was never leave it to beaver. But once people saw that on tv, everyone is convinced at some point we were that fake yucky family and are desperate to get back to that.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

        Speak truth to power, Bonnie! Speak truth to power!

  5. Jay April 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    This is an enormous and fascinating subject, Michael, and thank you for this contribution to the discussion. Our enormously expensive and inefficient healthcare system has ripple impacts throughout our society–this is not just about wellness and health. It is about government budgets, employment, international competitiveness and much, much more.

    And the trendlines are downright alarming. I wish the first graph had specified that the percentages were of GDP–and shown how that has changed. As a percentage of GDP, a truer measurement than raw dollars, healthcare has been growing for many years. And the first baby boomers turned 65 in….2011. It should come as no surprise that most of the most costly types of healthcare occur most frequently among senior citizens.

    You once mentioned that I’m perhaps a fellow Social Worker at heart. I think I’m more drawn to Demography–somehow, when people talk about how troubling things are right now, I feel inclined to say: “This is nothing. Wait until you see the projections!”

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      I’m afraid that your comments just prove that you are in fact a social worker at heart. Thank you for the comments regarding GDP, for that is exactly what we are talking about in our Neoliberalist society. As always, your voice is much needed and appreciated. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s article, for which you are responsible.

  6. James Queale April 14, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    STFU is short for, “Shut the F*** Up.”

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      Thank you, dear heart. I’m afraid I’m elderly and don’t always get the acronyms.

      • James Queale April 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

        No worries. They make new acronyms every day and I try and keep up. 🙂

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