While British citizens take the National Health Service for granted, US citizens require health insurance to pay for treatment.
However reports suggest that nearly 59 million people in the country do not have any form of medical insurance. The report’s author Frieden also says that during the first quarter of 2010, a staggering 30.4 million US citizens had no insurance for at least one year. This is an increase on the figure for 2008, which was equally staggering at 27.5 million people.
Frieden said: “That’s an increase of 3 million in chronically uninsured adults.”
He continued: “Now, the data also allow us to debunk two myths about health care coverage. The first myth is that it’s only the poor who are uninsured.
“In fact, half of the uninsured are over the poverty level and one in three adults under 65 in the middle income range — defined arbitrarily here between $44,000 and $65,000 a year for a family of four — were uninsured at some point in the year.”
Health care reform has been a hot topic on both sides of the Atlantic over recent years. While in Britain it revolves around how best to reorganise the structure of the State run health care system, in the US it is more fundamental than that.
According to Frieden, many people believe only those who are healthy don’t pay for health insurance. But Frieden has debunked this argument as well. He said: “In fact … more than two out of five individuals who are uninsured at some point during the past year had one or more chronic diseases and this is based on just a partial list of chronic diseases.”
Backing up this claim, Frieden cites the cases of 15 million people who did not have medical cover, but suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma.
The health care debate is one that’s ongoing in America. No doubt these findings will add to that debate.