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Health care, what some consider being a basic human right, what our country considers to be a privilege to those who have the funds to support it. Unfortunately, today’s American health care system is no longer only negatively affecting the poor and uninsured, but is now affecting middle class suburbia. This paper will focus on the cause and possible solution to the recent upswing in bankruptcy filings due to medical health care costs. Harvard professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, along with Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren and Ohio University sociology and anthropology professor Deborag Throne compiled statistically accurate data on bankruptcies in the United States. Their published study found that between 1981 and 2001, medical related bankruptcies have increased by an astounding 2,200 percent. This when compared to the 360% growth in all personal bankruptcies during the same period, is simply a figure that cannot go ignored. “About twenty-five years ago, filing for bankruptcy because of debts from medical problems was virtually unheard of.” (Frosch, 2005) Today medical costs are the second leading cause of personal bankruptcy, topped only by job loss. One factor affecting this rise in personal bankruptcies relating to medical costs is the dramatically increasing health care costs in the United States. “In 2002 American paid an average of $5440 in medical expenditures, up $419 from the previous year alone.” (Frosch, 2005) The major increases in medical costs can be attributed to technological advancements and the high costs associated with break-through drugs. Capitalism is the driving force of the medication industry. Higher medical costs are the first major factor increasing health care costs. “What you’re seeing in the bankruptcy numbers is a function of the fact that there is a very thin social safety net in this country in terms of health care.” (Frosch, 2005) Another major factor is the huge spike in the past fifteen years of uninsured Americans. In 2005, there are 45 million uninsured Americans, a jump of 10 million since 1990. The uninsured have always been a humanitarian issue heavily considered when dealing with political reform. There is however a segment of the American population that gets more attention, the middle-class. &... ... middle of paper ... ...ming up with solutions to solve it is very difficult. “The only real cure for the medical bankruptcy epidemic, according to Physicians for a National Health Program, is national health insurance – a system where coverage isn’t linked employment…” (Frosch, 2005) I will not claim to understand the economic ramifications in the institution of a nationalized health care system. I will however say that humanity is lacking in American culture. Selfishness continues to be a pervasive force. One argument supporting privatized health care is the quality of care that one receives. Another argument for it is that by having it privatized and as a function of a capitalized system, competitions force drives medical breakthrough rates much higher than anywhere else in the world. I will make my position clear. When it comes to the issue of healthcare, I do not value one human life more than another. I rather see everyone receiving mediocre to good care as compared to our current situation which leaves a tremendous amount of Americans suffering. Frosch, Dan. "Your money or your life: when getting sick means going broke” The Nation, Feb. 21 (2005): v280 i7 p11
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