Growing health care crisis

My boyfriend and I were visiting my family in Latvia this summer where he got sick right away with a hardy European flu his American immune system couldn't handle. We didn't have health insurance, but as symptoms got worse I dared to call the doctor. To my surprise, the cost of a visit at home was $30. The cost of Lithuanian antibiotics that cured him? $3. Similar antibiotics at Walgreens? $50.

It makes sense then why the average American paid $5,267 on health care in 2002, compared with an average $1,821 in other industrialized nations. And it's not because our medical lawsuits are out of hand, as many Republicans like to argue. As AlterNet reported, recent research shows that health care increases come from high prices not costs. In other words, pharmaceutical companies charge more for the same drugs and health care companies charge more for the same services.

These rising prices contributed to the fact that even more Americans went without health insurance last year. And it means that more folks lack routine preventative care, resulting in expensive hospital visits for more serious problems.

According to a recent data by the Census Bureau released on August 30, there are 800,000 more Americans without health insurance this year than there were in 2003. Lack of insurance was much more common among those with low incomes.  Some 24.3 percent of people with incomes below $25,000 were uninsured, almost triple the rate of 8.4 percent for people with incomes over $75,000. And more depressing findings -- African-Americans (19.7 percent uninsured) and Hispanics (32.7 percent) were much more likely to be uninsured than white, non-Hispanic people (11.3 percent).

Luckily, the number of uninsured children didn't grow. The government health insurance programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP enrolled more children in 2004 and offset the reduction of private insurance plans for children.

There is no simple solution to this problem, but I am planning to channel some of my rage into next congressional elections coming up in November 2006. And I asked my dad to mail me some Lithuanian antibiotics.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.