Health Care

Written by Sarah Provost
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The National Coalition on Health Care predicts that by 2006, there will be between 51.2 and 53.7 million Americans without health insurance. In 2003, that number was approximately 45 million, almost 16 percent of the population. Of those uninsured in 2003, 8.4 million were children.

It's not just financial crises that are the costs of being uninsured, either. Studies show that uninsured adults hospitalized for a traumatic injury are more than twice as likely to die in the hospital as insured adults. Furthermore, uninsured victims of heart attacks are over 25 percent more likely to die in the hospital than those who have insurance.

Those who do have insurance for health care are paying dearly. In 2004, the average premium for a family insurance policy was 21 percent of the national median household income. And more than 80 percent of employers planned to increase the cost of health insurance paid by employees in 2005.

What Can Be Done About Problems in Health Care?

There is little or no agreement among experts regarding the best way to address these issues. Some favor letting the free market have its way, while others advocate strict price controls. While everyone agrees that the rising number of uninsured Americans constitutes a burgeoning crisis in public health, no one has any practical suggestions regarding how to get everyone insured.

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