Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 11:05 | SYDNEY
Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 11:05 | SYDNEY

US healthcare: Leaving it to miracles


Fergus Hanson


2 July 2008 09:26

I’m still surprised when friends from America tell me tragic stories of themselves or others missing urgently needed medical care because they don’t have health insurance or can’t afford it. I just returned from the States and fresh stories flowed. The hairdresser with breast cancer trusting to fate for a cure. The mother who had to wait a day before taking her daughter to the doctor (with a broken leg it turns out) because her pay check hadn’t come through. The unaffordable $US800 a month cost of health insurance that comes with having a minor pre-existing ailment.

This article would seem to confirm the anecdotes. It reports results from a national survey which found ‘some 59 million people…either delayed or did without needed medical care last year, a huge increase from the 36 million people who delayed or did not seek care in 2003’. Considering the US spends more (as a percentage of GDP) on healthcare than any other OECD country and more than double the OECD average in per capita terms, Americans are getting a pretty raw deal.