|Health Care: Insurance Coverage|
The overall percentage of the population with no health insurance coverage.
Many Adults Lack Vaccinations That Could Save Their Lives
Published Monday, July 27th, 2009
A survey of adult vaccinations completed by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases reported that diseases which are easily preventable by adult vaccines kill more Americans, over 50,000 adults, each year than car wrecks, breast cancer, or AIDS. The surveys show that generally Americans are unaware or misinformed about the dangers and vaccines available for diseases like the flu, Hepatitis B, Pneumococcal disease, Meningitis, Shingles, Human Papillomavirus, Tetanus, Pertussis (whooping cough). One of the major problems is that Universal Coverage of vaccines stops at age 19. Plus, many adults think that vaccines are just for children, or they are concerned with vaccine safety. The CDC states that vaccines are among the safest medical products available. The result is that of the vaccines for adults are used no greater than 32% by high risk Americans baring the flu shot and tetanus shots.
Over the years of successful campaigns, the CDC has reported that over 95% of children have been vaccinated for various diseases. The CDC states that lack of awareness, resources and knowledge about adult vaccines, infrastructure, and access to health care are causes for low vaccination percentages among adults. The average annual health care expenditures per American has nearly tripled since 1990 to approximately $3,000 per annum. To compound the problem, nearly 15.3% of the population does not have health care insurance, which makes preventative care “unimportant” to some who believe they cannot afford non-emergency medicine.
Real Median Income Gained as Poverty Held Steady in 2007
Published Friday, July 24th, 2009
The new report on the US official poverty rate released by the US Census Bureau called “Income, poverty and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2007” has stated that real median household income in the United States climbed 1.3% between 2006 and 2007, reaching $50,233. The US official poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5% (37.3 million), which is steady from 2006 (36.5 million). This and other influences has lead the number of people without health insurance coverage to decline from 47 million (15.8%) in 2006 to 45.7 million (15.3%) in 2007.
Broken down, minorities also gained in real median income adjusted for inflation, which rose between 2006 and 2007 for black ($33,916 in 2007) and non-Hispanic white households ($54,920 in 2007), the first such increase since 1999. However, for Asians ($66,103 in 2007) and Hispanics ($38,679 in 2007) real income did not change. The family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty were 9.8% and 7.6 million, unchanged from 2006. As for Female-householders/No-Husband-Present the rate was 28.3% (a decrease of 2.8 percentage points) and 13.6% for those with male householder and no-wife-present. The US Office of management and budget has updated the weighted average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2007 as $21,203, for a family of 3 at $16,530, 2 at $13,540, and 1 at $10,590.
Demand and Money Central to Health Debate
Published Monday, June 29th, 2009
Last week, the President hosted a town hall meeting with TV network ABC called “Prescription for America” in the East Room of the White House. There were 164 people: doctors, businessmen, patients, Republicans, Democrats, and independents. The President stressed access to health care and talked about a Medicare-like system that would allow patients to choose doctors and hospitals. Second, the President stated that nearly a third of what we spend on Health Care is unnecessary and that we should focus on strengthening primary care and coordination between doctors, specialist and patients. Finally, one of the obstacles is the reform’s costs, already projected to run between $1 and 2 trillion over the next 10 years.
Access for all Americans is an issue not just for the 15.3% of the population who are uninsured as of 2007. Access can also mean the number of hospitals, which as of 2006 came to 5756 in 2006, down from 6965 in 1980. Demand has given to a meteoric rise in consumer expenditures for public and private health care, which as of 2007 reached a combined price tag of $2.32 trillion. Averaged cost per patient per stay has increased to $8,793; even without hospital visits the average American annually spends nearly $3,000 on health care expenditures. The group who visits the ER most is the group 15-44 years old; this group is most likely to be uninsured.
Proposed Means of Paying for Health Care Reform
Published Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
The Senate Finance Committee has issued a 40 page report on options to pay for health care reform measures and coverage for the nearly 50 million who are uninsured. Among these options, cutting cost is the most popular for the long run, yet in the short term, some are proposing taxes as a way to raise the necessary funding and trigger cost-saving lifestyle changes. For example, a soda tax will target drinks with high caloric sweeteners; diet drinks will be exempt. Another proposal would put a federal tax on alcoholic drinks. The proposal also suggests that health insurance benefits for those who make over $200,000 as individuals and $400,000 as a couple be taxed. Plus, for upper income seniors, they will be charged more for their Medicare drug plans.
Public and private health care spending has risen relatively in parallel, with a fluctuating gap between the two since 1977 and a present gap of $108 billion. The annual pace at which both have climbed is mirrored by the average annual expenditures per consumer for out-of-pocket health care in a year, which is calculated at nearly $3000 in 2007. Currently, the pressures of those expenditures have caused many to be uninsured, to fall on government health care rolls, or worse yet to go into foreclosure or bankruptcy. When compared to other countries, America spends more on health care as a percentage of GDP and yet has one of the highest rates of uninsured.
Health Care to be Addressed by President Obama
Published Monday, May 11th, 2009
In an effort to influence the Health Reform that President Obama is determined to initiate, hospitals, insurance companies, drug makers and doctors will voluntarily slow their rate increases in coming years, potentially adding up to $2 trillion in spending reductions over 10 years. 6 major health groups pledged to cut the rise in health care costs by 1.5 percentage points each year. This move will help provide health insurance to the growing 50 million who now have no health insurance. Obama’s plan is estimated to cost the federal government $1.2 to $1.5 trillion over 10 years, only half of that has been accounted for by the White House. Health groups who discouraged the health reforms prescribed by the Clinton administration seem to be coming forward to help President Obama for a variety of reasons.
By 2007, overall annual consumer expenditures for Private and public health care has reached 1.2 trillion and 1.02 trillion respectively. The difference in public and private expenditures has not always been so wide; between 1977 and the present, the range has slowly grown wider, except between 1994 to 2000 where private shrank and public grew. The number of uninsured has grown from 14% in 2000 to 15.3% of the population in 2007. The percentage includes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which has grown from 3.4 million in 2000 to 6 million in 2005. Most prone to be uninsured are minorities, who are disproportionately uninsured at 24.5-21.8% and those who of 18-44 years of age. All of which has lead to a steady increase in government health care rolls from 10.3% in 2000 to 13.2% in 2007.
Poverty Income Threshold Increases
Published Friday, February 27th, 2009
Those uninsured and working poor who are trying to qualify for public health programs have received an economic helping hand as the 2009 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines were increased to reflect the increases in the Consumer Price Index. The Current Population Survey for 2009 has raised the poverty threshold—the dollar amount the Census Bureau uses to determine poverty status—for a family of 4 to $21,203. As a result, the number of citizens who can now qualify of free or low cost government health insurance has risen.
In 2007, more than 36.5 million people, about 12.5% of the U.S. population were living in poverty. The poverty threshold for 2009 has increased by 2.8% over the 2006 and 2007 thresholds. At the same time, since 1980, the Health Care Consumer Price Index has experienced annual increases ranging from $6.2 billion to the recent 2007 $14.9 billion climb. This has resulted in the percentage of those uninsured to steadily rise to an average 15.3% of the total US population as health insurance prices rise to compensate. However, only 33% of the 47 million uninsured Americans are now eligible but are not signed up, which leaves 31.49 million without recourse to health care insurance.
U.S. Census Bureau: Healthcare Insurance Coverage - http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/hlthins.html
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