|Health Care: Spending|
The average annual expenditures per consumer for health care in a year.
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.
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.
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services - http://www.cms.hhs.gov/nationalheathexpanddata/
To ensure effective, up-to-date health care coverage and to promote quality care for beneficiaries.
American Healthcare Research and Quality - http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/index.html
American Healthcare Research and Quality helps improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.