6.22.2009

Horrifying and fascinating

A new study from Reuters (via Daily Kos) has some interesting information about Americans and healthcare.
Americans are struggling to pay for healthcare in the ongoing economic recession, with a quarter saying they have had trouble in the past 12 months, according to a survey released on Monday.

Baby boomers -- the generation born between 1946 and 1964 -- had the most trouble and were the most likely to put off medical treatments or services, said researchers at Center for Healthcare Improvement, part of the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.

The study, available here, found that 17.4 percent of households reported postponing or delaying healthcare over the past year.

A quarter of those surveyed had had trouble paying for health care in the past year? And the aging Baby Boom cohort, who are at an age where preventive care is of paramount importance, are the most likely to put off treatment? Those numbers are much higher than I would have guessed, and paint a very depressing picture of the American health care non-system.

There's also this:
They found 40 percent of all households planned to postpone care in the coming three months, with about 15 percent planning to put off routine doctor visits.
This is, of course, a false economy, allowing conditions that are easily treated to worsen, and allowing potentially life-threatening conditions to be overlooked due to missed opportunities to screen for them, both of which will be more costly in the long run. That people are forced to make this kind of financial calculation is egregious.

But let's not overlook this little tidbit:
People born before 1946 were the least likely to delay care, probably because most can take part in Medicare, the federal health insurance plan for the elderly, the researchers found.
As the poster over at Kos points out, the people who have access to the public health option are the least likely to delay care. Which, from my perspective, is yet another reason to wonder why the "centrists" in the Senate are against it.

4 comments:

  1. Wow, people are struggling to pay for expensive care during a recession. Who knew?

    The other take-away, only slightly less obvious, is that older people need more medical care than the young. Again, who knew? One nice thing about ObamaCare is that it is essentially a wealth transfer from the young to the old. Healthy young people pay taxes so that older citizens can have subsidized medical treatment. Oddly enough, the older group putting off medical care is wealthier than the young. But I'm sure these young citizens are happy to pony up so their parents can avoid the expense of the treatments they need.

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  2. Why yes, John. People are struggling to pay for expensive care during a recession. This is apparently something you find glibly amusing. I happen to think it's for the birds.

    And your argument is that these old people could afford their care, but choose to avoid paying for it? What a fascinating viewpoint.

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  3. If you think I find people struggling to pay for healthcare "glibly amusing" you need to check the batteries in your Irony-O-Meter.

    And my argument? If Boomers can't pay for their healthcare necessities, then who the [heck] can pay for it? Boomers are the wealthiest demographic around. Why should 20-somethings, just starting families, pony up so that 50-something geezers can get Lipitor and a stent without opening the piggybank?

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  4. hey John, that is the way insurance works. I never have car accidents so why should I pay for those that do? 20 year olds pay also for themselves, have you never heard of accidents? And some young people get diseases as well.

    charo

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