Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gee, I can't understand why Bush doesn't get more credit for our rip-roaring economy:

The percentage of working-age Americans with moderate to middle incomes who lacked health insurance for at least part of the year rose to 41 percent in 2005, a dramatic increase from the 28 percent in 2001 without coverage, a study released on Wednesday found.

Moreover, more than half of the uninsured adults said they were having problems paying their medical bills or had incurred debt to cover their expenses, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based private, health care policy foundation.

...The study also found that 59 percent of uninsured with chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes either skipped a dose of their medicine or went without it because it was too expensive. One-third of them

One-third of those in that group visited an emergency room or stayed in a hospital overnight or did both, compared to 15 percent of their insured counterparts.

[Sara] Collins [of the Commonwealth Fund] said those statistics are significant because giving up medicines typically leads to more expensive health problems later. Treating people in expensive settings such emergency rooms places a financial burden on the health care system, she added....

And, in fact:

HCA Inc. hoisted a red flag on Tuesday, when the the nation's largest for-profit hospital operator said its earnings fell 8.5 percent in the first quarter after an increase in the uninsured admissions cut into revenue gains. Uninsured admissions rose 13 percent during the quarter, and the company said its provision for "doubtful accounts" rose to $852 million from $683 million a year earlier.

Ah, a victim Republicans can actually relate to! A big company! Maybe now it can be considered a real problem?

(And, of course, HCA is Senator Frist's family's company.)

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