- 52% of adults in the United States report being diagnosed with one or more chronic conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
- There are nearly 70 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, and many of those who still have it are finding that the insurance companies are limiting coverage, and increasing co-pays for office visits and deductibles for out-of-pocket expenses before the policy begins picking up the tab.
- According to the Census Bureau over 6 million Americans lost their private health insurance in 2009 alone. While that was partly offset by an increase in those going on Medicare and Medicaid, the net loss was still over 4 million.
- Hospitals and doctors, meanwhile, are being squeezed by rising costs as well as cutbacks on reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers.
- Unemployment has risen from 5.2% to almost 10% in the last 3 years.
- When people are worried about losing their jobs (or are laid off with COBRA) they accelerate their medical procedures before they lose their health coverage, but that initial demand fades as laid off workers lose their COBRA coverage or similar benefits from their former employers.
The new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, attempts to address many of these concerns, but most of its provisions don’t take effect until 2014, so the jury will be out for some time before we know whether it will make a positive difference.
Clearly, our country is in the middle of a “medical mess.” Despite incredible advances in diagnostics, treatments and medicines, even those of us with the ability to access health care face an at-best uncertain future of what will be available, how long it will take to get it and how much it will cost. In fact, the future of health care in the U.S. is so uncertain right now it’s almost enough to make a person want to just . . . GET WELL!!
I have written about different motivations to adopt a wellness lifestyle (see the Winter 2009 bodyjournal newsletter), but in light of all these statistics, just staying out of the medical system might be the best motivation yet.
It’s all very interesting. Do you have an opinion on healthcare reform? More importantly, do you have a plan for your wellness going forward? Send your comments and feel free to contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org