Saturday, March 24, 2007

Another reason universal health care is needed in the US

Via Truthout I became aware of this LA Times article

Blue Cross cancellations called illegal

Blue Cross of California "routinely" violated state law when it canceled individual health insurance coverage after policyholders got pregnant or sick, making no attempt to determine whether they did anything to merit such "harsh" treatment, according to a state investigation of practices that appear to be industrywide.

State regulators plan similar investigations of other health plans in California, and the findings against Blue Cross ratchet up the risk of liability for other insurers, many of whom face lawsuits from consumers who claim they were illegally dumped and subjected to substantial hardships.


So, not only is the cost of health care coverage going up in the US, it appears that when you start to need it, you're denied it.

As I has written earlier, 54.5% of all personal bankruptcies are at least somewhat caused by medical reasons (source), so the price these people might have to pay is very high indeed, even if we ignore the cost of the insurance through the years.

My earlier posts on the issue of universal health care in the US:
Is universal health care affordable in the US?
Universal health care as a progressive issue
The price of lack of unviersal health care

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4 Comments:

Blogger ERV said...

Its a goddamn mess.

This is the one issue that infuriates me with Orac. Older physicians stubbornly refuse to do anything about the health care crisis in the US. THEY are the physicians 'in power' so to speak, they are the ones in a position to do something.

Universal Health Care might not be the 'right' answer for the US, but for the love of god, theyve got to try something. Ugh.

Just so you know how bad it is, seeing as you are a foreigner (hehe), both of my parents are teachers. Have degrees, worked every day of their adult lives, and I still didnt have adequate heath insurance until I got my first real out-of-college job. Ignoring all of the uninsured citizens, there are millions more underinsured citizens, an accident away from financial ruin.

March 25, 2007 1:23 AM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

You are aware that Orac reads my blog, right? [winkie thingie] (don't do smileys)

Yes, physicians should speak out, but progressive politican should also speak out, since they are the ones that really can make the changes.

Edwards has started, but his plan is still insurance-based, which won't do anything towards making it cheaper. It just moves the cost from the employees to the employers.

I think I need to make a post about Edwards plans, and explains what's good about it, and what's wrong about it.

Oh, and the fact that you didn't have full coverage is horrifying. What kind of civilized society allows this toi go on?

March 25, 2007 10:38 AM  
Blogger ERV said...

Haha! Yes, so Ill also add "Tort reform is hands down the dumbest 'solution' to this problem on the planet. The dumbest."

Look, I would be happy with any progress on this front. Nothing has changed since I first became aware of the health insurance crisis in the US 6 years ago. Not a damn thing.

March 25, 2007 4:13 PM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

That's not quite true. There has both been increases in cost and decreases in coverage.
Progress, baby!

Actually, observing the current US health care system is like observing a slow moving train getting derailed. It wouldn't take much to stop it from happening if you do it early enough, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be. At some stage it's easier to let the train derail, and then fix it afterwards - I don't think the US system is quite there yet, but it certainly seems like it is heading that way.

How US health care should be fixed is of course up to debate (though I agree that tort reform won't do it, since it's not really relevant to the issue - something I'll blog about some other time).
My suggestion is universal health care, European style. Edwards is more into universal health care Australian style (insurance-based).

March 25, 2007 4:52 PM  

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