Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation
So, William and Kate have a new baby boy. Britain has a new heir to the throne, and the world was watching. Congratulations to the new parents, grandparents and the nation celebrating. And a special congratulations to you all for having the kind of health care system that won't kill this child for profit. we cannot say the same in America. We like kids, but we love profits.
CNN missed the mark, again, with its reporting of a major news event by reporting the differences for women giving birth in the UK as compared to the US. The report focused on the birthing rooms and pain relief strategies and care.
What CNN failed to report was that US mothers often worry about paying for the prenatal care we need, the hospital or other provider bills for labor and delivery, and then finally about having access to care for our children once they are born. Our infant and maternal mortality rates reinforce our priorities We still place 42nd in the world in infant mortality rates, and we don't do much better for mothers.
But today CNN and other news outlets wanted to just celebrate rather than make any sort of negative comparisons between our system and the UK's. It was an opportunity missed to tell an awful lot of people that we don't have to burden our families with these sorts of worries. We really can transform the system into one that values all of our children and the rest of us too. In order to do that, we'd need to see the truth about how women must be scrutinized here before being admitted for a birth and how deposits must be paid, credit cards offered and checks written before babes go home from the hospital. That's more a part of the American health system reality than nice birthing rooms and labor pain relief.
Let's be honest. Rich or well-insured women in America will likely do fine with pregnancy and birth. Others may or may not. And only the most well situated in terms of financial resources can know for sure that their children will be able to access care as they grow and if they ever get sick or hurt. We have work to do before we can truly celebrate birth. Even after the Affordable Care Act is up and running, we will leave millions of people uninsured and worried.
An improved and expanded Medicare for all for life system is what we need in America. For mothers, for newborns, for dads, for us all. Then we can stop tallying the health care dead and broke and start counting our health care blessings.
Today's count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:
The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-
industrial -complex system dead: 24,856
The 2013, to date, U.S. health care system
** These figures are calculated based on the Harvard University studies on excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance coverage or the ability to pay for needed health care, and the Harvard University study that calculated the high percentage of personal bankruptcies attributable to medical crisis and debt in the U.S. 123 people die daily due to lack of coverage or cash to pay for care; 1,978 go bankrupt every day due to medical crisis and debt though the majority had insurance at the time their illness or injury occurred. This statistic is also based on the 1.2 million bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and calculating those medically-related bankruptcies from that number.http://www.healthcareforallcolorado.org/endorse_right_to_health_care
Follow Donna "American SiCKO" Smith's blog at: http://donnasicko.blogspot.com/
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