How sick is the U.S. health care system?

Raeanna Mar­nati — The Stinger
On Tues­day, Decem­ber 4, UW-Superior stu­dents Dustin Behlke and Louis Fall­ert part­nered together to inform cam­pus on just how sick the Amer­i­can health­care sys­tem is.  The pre­sen­ta­tion was part of a com­mu­nity edu­ca­tion project com­pleted by Eric Edward’s “Soci­ol­ogy of Health” class. All week long through Decem­ber 10 stu­dents will be pre­sent­ing a dif­fer­ent topic related to health in the Yel­low Jacket Union and the Mar­covich Well­ness Center.

How Sick is the U.S. Health­care Sys­tem” was a project aimed to let peo­ple know just how twisted and manip­u­la­tive the health­care indus­try is here in the United States com­pared to other countries.

In the United States in 2007, 62.1% of all bank­rupt­cies were related to med­ical bills.  Most of the med­ical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occu­pa­tions.  Nearly three-quarters of them also had health insur­ance and were still forced to file bankruptcy.

We hear from politi­cians every day that the United States has the best health care deliv­ery sys­tem in the world and that we enjoy the beast health care in the world.  If we have the best sys­tem, why are peo­ple fil­ing bank­ruptcy over med­ical bills? Why are those with pre-existing con­di­tions not able to be insured?

Each per­son in the United States spends more than any other coun­try on health care.  The United States ranks 37th in the health care sys­tem rankings.

Dustin Behlke says that he wanted to open people’s eyes to just how impor­tant of an issue this is.

There’s a seri­ous prob­lem here,” says Behlke, “Peo­ple don’t real­ize that the big thing that dri­ves our health care is money, not health.  Look at how much we spend and how lit­tle we get. I don’t know if any­thing will change.”

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