Falling Between the Cracks

As the recession strips people of jobs and health insurance, they are forgoing vital preventive care. Recent data estimates that more than 3.7 million working-age Americans have lost their health insurance since the recession began. 500,000 of them are here in California.

The Los Angeles Times recently cited studies that estimate:
• 47 percent of Californians postponing care are considered to be in fair or poor health.
• 33 percent of Californians with chronic conditions have postponed care or prescriptions because of cost.
• 25 percent of California's uninsured have diabetes, emphysema and other chronic conditions that are not being managed.
A New England Journal of Medicine study showed that a co-pay of as little as $10 can dissuade a woman from getting a mammogram. An increase of $5 in a drug co-pay can cause older patients not to refill their prescriptions. 
When people forgo or postpone medical care, they are more likely to show up in emergency rooms with severe conditions that could have been prevented. It damages their health and drives up healthcare costs.
In the long term, the prognosis is even worse. Approximately 23.6 million Americans have diabetes and the number is growing. Type 2 diabetes is already linked with higher possibility of heart attack and stroke. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association links diabetes with a higher risk of dementia.
Too many people are falling between the cracks. America is only as strong as its weakest citizens. For the medical and financial health of our nation, we must find a way to care for all of us.
—Tom DeSanto
Image: www.phoenixrealestateguy.com

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