The World’s Worst Business Model: U.S. Health Care
The story of Vicki H. Readling is typical. She made $60,000 as a freelance insurance broker last year, but could no longer afford health benefits, because with her history of cancer, a health policy would cost $27,000. After taxes, she would be left with maybe $15,000 a year to live on.
Yesterday’s story of Readling was just one of many in the media last week about the state of our sad-sack health care dilemma. Among the others:
* A Miami Herald piece that suggested Americans who need surgery should go abroad where procedures can be performed for a fraction of what they cost here.
* A New York Times/CBS News poll said that a majority of Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes in return for universal health care and that only 24 percent were satisfied with the Bush Administration’s handling of the problem.
* A series in The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Failure to Care,” described how “dozens of vulnerable elderly, mentally ill, disabled residents were robbed, raped, assaulted, or left to die in poorly run personal-care homes. Since 2000, at least 55 residents have died in Pennsylvania under circumstances that raise questions about poor care and preventable death.”
* In The New York Times, Robert Hershey wrote a 1,700-word story titled, “Those Multiple Choices in Long-Term Care Policies,” a kind of insurance that my wife, Peggy, and I have that is expensive and we really do not trust the insurance company we are dealing with.
* The Boston Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk described how EMC Corp—an information management company—will be using the Internet to electronically measure the blood pressure of employees with high blood pressure twice a week in a new program called “telemedicine.”
Quite simply, health care in the United States is a series of Band-Aids on a severed aorta.