Friday, November 28, 2008

Lack of Health Insurance Impacts the Economy

I recently wrote how hospitals treaing patients with no health insurance are forced to pass along those costs to the rest of us, thus artificially (and, some would say, unfairly) driving up the cost of our health insurance.

On that same general subject, I came across an enlightening column in The New Yorker magazine which contained the following interesting and sobering paragraph:

The accumulating failures in the country’s health-care system are a cause of profound weakness in the American economy; unaddressed, this weakness will exacerbate the coming recession and crimp its aftermath. A large number of the country’s housing foreclosures in recent years appear to be related to medical problems and health-care expenses. American businesses often can’t afford to hire as many employees as they like because of rising health-insurance costs; employees often can’t afford to quit to chase their better-mousetrap dreams because they can’t risk going without coverage. Add to this the system’s moral failings: about twenty-two thousand people die in this country annually because they lack health insurance. That is more than the number of Americans who are murdered in a year.

Steve Coll
The New Yorker

Nov. 10, 2008

Forty-seven million Americans without health insurance is a national disgrace. But it is also stupid because, clearly, the most expensive choice we can make on this issue is to do nothing.

No comments: