I must admit to being appalled at the notion that somehow affordability and/or capacity to pay should play a significant factor in life or death. I would also disagree with any notion that somehow if the country bands together in common purpose that this is tantamount to a suicidal drive into national bankruptcy. Remember that almost every other major developed nation has already made that decision, and lives on still, paying the bills, helping each other, surviving and prospering as the case may be. I would think that an article of this type would stand to be a call to action, a warning sign of the damages being inflicted by the system, and a signal to the solutions that need to be implemented. Imagine the impact of all these bankruptcies, how much in health care losses, which will only end of indirectly costing the health care system in higher insurance premiums and higher treatment costs from hospitals.
It seems clear to me that health care can no longer be treated as a private good, it's unaffordable for too many, and those that cannot are incurring a very substantial cost on the rest of the population. Whether it be bankruptcy write-offs, going to emergency rooms, or just working while sick, these costs are starting to add up. I would suggest instead that it's time to treat health care as a public good, funded through taxation (I believe payroll taxes pay health care premiums now). The single payer would be available to all, but not the only option, there will be a parallel private system so those that wish to pay for service has that option. This will reduce the amount of freeriding use, and make sure that all can receive affordable health care.
Another factor in medical bankruptcies is time lost from work. People lose their jobs because of a catastrophic illness to themselves or their loved ones, because they're gone too much. I did ok through my first big surgery, but by the second 10-hour back surgery and the time lost from work, and just having to deal with the fact that I can't sit anymore for any length of time, I finally had to apply for disability retirement. But it was the lost wages more than anything else that fueled my bankruptcy (sick leave only goes so far). And if it hadn't been for the fact that I was really good at my job and had terrific, sympathetic employers I'm sure I would have been fired somewhere along the way. People often are.
Edited by Rhea, 05 June 2009 - 10:07 PM.