Monday, March 12, 2007

The price of the lack of universal health care

I came across a couple of articles that explains the cost that lack of universal health care can have.

Life, death and the bottom line

As the article makes clear, it might not be a direct price, but it can take its toll indirectly.

Though many in Bonnie's circle believe poor access to health care hastened her death, it isn't clear whether delays in her treatment are directly to blame for her dying when she did. What is clear is that she waged an uphill battle on two fronts: one against an aggressive form of breast cancer and the other against a sluggish and largely impersonal medical system.

Once she lost insurance, tests took longer. Doctors rotated. Care wasn't centralized. There were mountains of bills to pay, forms to fill out, documentation to turn in, public payment programs to apply to.

The stress of it all seemed to zap what little energy Bonnie had left to deal with the cancer spreading stealthily through her body.


The follow up article is here and an op-ed about the articles is here.

Stories like this, is why I consider universal health care a progressive issue. And given the fact that the US uses more on health care, and receives less for the money than many countries with universal health care, I cannot see why it shouldn't be affordable in the US.

I'm happy to see that Edwards has raised the issue. Now, let's hope that other progressive candidates follows him.

Update: I came across a NY Times article of relevance to this issue: Citizens Who Lack Papers Lose Medicaid. Of course, such wide laws could still be created under a universal health care, but that would be much less likely.

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