Survey shows that Americans, more than other developed nations, have hardest time paying for health care Skip to main content

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Survey shows that Americans, more than other developed nations, have hardest time paying for health care


The United States may appear to be a world power but when it comes to health care, far too many of our people are treated poorly.

A recent survey of industrialized nations revealed that in more so than any other country, American adults are most likely to avoid critical health care because of the cost. The survey was published in Health Affairs and was conducted within 11 countries that are considered modernized with developed health care systems.

The specific result of the survey determined that adults in the United States were “significantly more likely than adults in other countries to have gone without care because of cost, to have spent $1,000 or more out of pocket on medical care, and to have had serious problems paying medical bills during the previous year."

For those of us in the bankruptcy world, and of course, for those of you who have filed because of medical expense-related debt, this is not news. And unfortunately, it probably isn’t news to our lawmakers either.

Before you think about the pending benefits of the health care reform that was passed earlier this year in Washington, know that it will do little to solve the problem. (Still, little is better than nothing.) The problem is, our medical system is already based on a for-profit model. Thus, there are endless streams of income already flowing in and out of every facet of the industry. You may not to have to pay as much after some services in your local doctor’s office come 2013 but rest assured, the private medical sector will find a way to make up for the losses it will likely face due to the recently passed healthcare legislation.

This is not an indictment of the medical care or health insurance industries. But they will need to find a way to generate the profits needed to remain solvent. Now, it’s extremely unlikely we’ll see any sort of “medical industry crash” like we saw on Wall Street in 2008. But these companies have grown, employed millions of Americans and created enormous global business presences based on the models and strategies currently in place. Far too much hangs in the balance for Washington to allow them to actually struggle.

The survey in question revealed:

  • One-third of American adults neglected suggested care or avoided a doctor when obviously ill. In Germany, only one-quarter went without care.
  • 20 percent of adults reported having major problems paying their medical bills. Only nine percent had trouble in the remainder of the countries surveyed.
  • More than 30 percent of U.S. adults responded positively to a question about confusing nature of insurance policies and documentation and to having a claim denied.
  • America also reported the widest margins relative to available health care between income levels. Those with less, receive less.

It’s an odd contrast, our health care system. We have the most advanced and well-trained industry on the planet and yet, the most expensive and difficult to access.

And no, there doesn’t have to be a trade off. Not in America.

Facing mounting medical debt? Contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt. We can help you dig out, and build a healthy future for your family. Call today for your free initial consultation- 1-800-499-1818.

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