One would think there is little difference between the physical health of an insured and an uninsured individual. But, that would be thought worth a healthy dose of rethinking. The truth is that the uninsured, though certainly starting out on even footing, often see their health deteriorate rapidly because they simply can't afford medical care.
That's a serious problem - for all of us.
It's a serious problem for the uninsured because they don't go to the doctor for routine checkups. They don't pay attention to the little aches and pains that turn into the monstrous health care issues that threaten their wellbeing. They blow right past the prevention stage to the serious - and often preventable - life-changing disease stage.
It's a serious problem for the insured because everyone pays the price. Even though the uninsured don't seek care nearly as often as those with insurance, they do occasionally have to go to the doctor. And, when they can't pay for their care, the tab is dropped on the community.
The figures are significant. The uninsured pay out of pocket expenses of $30 billion each year. They'll also receive $56 billion in free care each year, with about $43 billion of that funded by the federal government.
Now, not to confuse the issue, but if the uninsured received coverage they'd actually spend about $100 more each year out of pocket. But, insurers would cover the current "free" portion of their care and they'd get at those medical issues before they became a big deal.
So - rock the vote this year. Take a good look at the presidential contenders and give serious consideration to their stance on health care.To read more about the report, see this from Reuters. To compare the health care plans of John McCain and Barack Obama, see this from health08.org.