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Monday, June 8, 2015

The sad state of healthcare in America

     I recently donate money to pay for medical expenses for a local friend who had a freak accident a few weeks ago.  He is a self employed person with a high deductible policy.  The goal was to raise a substantial amount for medical costs that have already been accumulated.  Fortunately this person is well known in a variety of communities so over the amount has been raised.  It probably wouldn't work to well for someone less connected in their community
     This got me thinking about how often GoFundMe  is used to pay for medical costs.  I was surprised to find that there are now over 200,000 people are using this approach to pay for medical bills.  In most of these cases the people have medical insurance but the gaps in coverage are substantial.  Most have the popular high deductible policies.  These are great to hold down the monthly premiums  and great for employers wanting to control their health insurance costs but are practically worthless for most medical expenses.
      For many people filing for bankruptcy is the only solution to get out of a debt for medical bills.  I know of one young family that had to give up their home, move in with in-laws and file for bankruptcy to cover the medical costs of one of their children who has a serious illness.  It is estimated the this happens to 1.7 million Americans every year.
      OK so we must be getting something good out of our health care system to balance out this situation, right?  I wish there was a silver lining in this story but once again the US healthcare system is ranked last in quality and affordability and performance among 11 other countries with modern medical care.  When a political candidate tells you that we have the best medical system in the world and that is why people from all over the world come here for medical care you can be sure that it is someone with a ton of money to afford care in the US.

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