Health Care Policy

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The number of uninsured Americans is greater than the total population of Canada (Lambrew, Podesta, & Shaw, 2005). Conservative 2004 estimates indicate that there were 41.6 million uninsured persons of all ages (14.5%) and 51.0 million (17.7%) were uninsured for at least part of the year (Cohen, Martinez, & Hao, 2005). By 2013, projections suggest that one in four Americans under the age of 65, nearly 56 million people, will be without health care insurance because coverage will be too expensive (CQ Health beat News, 2005). The United States spends more money on health care than other industrialized nations but is the only one that doesn’t ensure health care coverage for all citizens. Every year, approximately 18,000 unnecessary deaths occur because of health insurance lacking in the United States, (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2002). Proponents of universal health care coverage say this problem is fixable but only if a significant overhaul of our current insurance system occurs. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 is not a universal coverage plan but is designed to decrease the number of uninsured.

This lack of coverage leading to debt and personal bankruptcy results in billions of dollars in uncompensated care that get passed through the health care system to taxpayers when the uninsured obtain care from hospitals (Reinhardt et al., 2004). Approximately, $100 billion was spent in 2001 to care for the uninsured, therefore, when considering the cost of covering the uninsured with meaningful health benefits, it is fundamentally justified to create policy solutions. (Reinhardt, 2003). One strategy for extending coverage is through expansion of public coverage through Medicaid and SCHIP. In 2000, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) formed an expert Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance to study the issue comprehensively, examining the effects of the lack of health coverage on individuals, families,...
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