The dismal economy has American hospitals ailing, with new data showing declines in overall admissions and elective procedures, plus a significant jump in patients who can’t pay for care, the American Hospital Association said Wednesday.
Hospitals also have been hurt by losses on their investments due to the turmoil on Wall Street, and many are finding it more expensive to borrow money — if they can at all, according to a report from the association, which represents about 5,000 U.S. hospitals.
BOTTOM LINE: Data shows decline in admissions and increase in patients who can’t pay. No big surprise, here. Despite all the problems that we face, health care must be a priority or the next bailout will be the hospitals.
In fact, we are facing a crisis in primary care providers.
Primary care doctors in the United States feel overworked and nearly half plan to either cut back on how many patients they see or quit medicine entirely, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
And 60 percent of 12,000 general practice physicians found they would not recommend medicine as a career.
“The whole thing has spun out of control. I plan to retire early even though I still love seeing patients. The process has just become too burdensome,” the Physicians’ Foundation, which conducted the survey, quoted one of the doctors as saying.
The survey adds to building evidence that not enough internal medicine or family practice doctors are trained or practicing in the United States, although there are plenty of specialist physicians.
This is serious stuff especially considering the following:
As diabetes is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most common diseases, its financial cost is mounting, too, to well over $200 billion a year in the U.S. alone.
$200 BILLION is roughly 1/3rd of the Bailout money for the banks and that is the cost for just ONE YEAR!
We must reform the health care system. To ignore it would put us in a worse position economically speaking that we are in right now. And with massive unemployment, it’s only going to get worse.
Personally, I think that health care costs should hinge on 2 things: Lifestyle & BMI. Healthy people with normal BMI have lower health care costs and should pay less. People with abnormal BMI’s should pay the most because they are the most unhealthy. The reason why this is important because people have to take some responsibility for their weight and their health. If people with abnormal BMI’s want to pay less, then they can by taking responsibility for their own health.
Here’s an example:
Belly fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Now an important new study links belly fat to early death.
Researchers followed about 360,000 Europeans enrolled in one of the largest and longest health studies in the world.
They found that people with the most belly fat had about double the risk of dying prematurely of the people with the least amount of belly fat. Death risk increased with waist circumference, whether the participants were overweight or not.
Otherwise, people will never take responsibility for what they put in their bodies and the rest of us have to pay for them. It’s a primary reason we are in the health care mess that we are in right now.
So we can start by asking restaurants to post calorie content on their menus. That way you will at least have to think about the fact that you are stuffing your face with something that might represent an entire day’s worth of calories. And if you go ahead and eat it, then you should pay more for your health care than someone who makes wiser choices. Because in the end, without changes to the current system, it’s the healthy people who are paying for the ones who make these unwise choices.