At lunch the other day I was discussing problems uninsured individuals have accessing medical care and the need for total system change. (It wasn’t a random conversation, the discussion was between myself and the individual who took over as Executive Director of the free medical clinic I was running when I was elected Coroner.)
Why hasn’t something been done to help the 48 million Americans without health insurance? It was my point (echoing many others) that historically low-income individuals have been the super-majority of the uninsured. Low income individuals have no power, no clout, “no one” listens to them.
I also made the point that the demographics are changing and with that change is coming renewed attention and re-evaluation of this issue. More moderate- to middle-income families are facing loss of insurance and its attendant risks of ill-health and financial ruin. More people, many 50-65 years old, are facing the prospects of being uninsured. These are people who can be heard, who can use their clout. It is terribly unfortunate that this is what it will take to get the issue addressed, but I see it coming.
Medical debt is crushing people who have no insurance. It has become an issue for individuals with insurance (62% of adults with medical debt were/are insured).
The inability, or severely circumscribed ability, to get insurance on the private market is hitting even those with the money to afford to pay for it.
Lack of medical insurance limits access to healthcare. It limits an individual’s ability to properly manage chronic health problems. It limits access to health maintenance and disease prevention/early screening measures. It contributes to the death of these individuals.