Uninsurance in America: Measuring what we value

Tsou, Walter
June 2005
Nation's Health;Jun/Jul2005, Vol. 35 Issue 5, p3
This article assesses the uninsurance level in the U.S. in June 2005. In a health system obsessed with cost, we have buried our health professionals and hospitals in billing paperwork. When local health departments ask physicians to report what public health concerns they are seeing in their offices or emergency rooms, most ignore the requests because they are swamped with billing forms. Public health planning demands that we have a surveillance system in place that gives us a clearer real-time picture of tile health status of a community. By any measure, the growing number of uninsured represents our health system's greatest failure. Contrast that with the monthly unemployment rate, a widely publicized rate that can bring swift action by Wall Street and the Federal Reserve Bank of the republic. Suppose we insisted that all health data be measured monthly, and that we actually paid health care providers based on data surveillance and improvements to the health of their communities. Communities that were coordinated and cooperated would be paid more. We might then finally be able to come together and solve the health care sector and insurance crisis in the country.


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