By end of the line, we aren’t referring to palliative care for a terminally ill patient. We are referring to hospital emergency rooms across the nation increasingly being used as a last resort for medical care.
This recession has hit people’s health care in ways no one really thought about. People are getting laid off and with their lay off they lose the health care they once had. Not only is this a significant shock to the system, it may mean the person or family is no longer able to afford health care. Expect the numbers of uninsured Americans to rise while until the recession stabilizes and people are able to go back to work.
This extra burden of more uninsured people really puts a strain on an already overused and abused health care system. What will start to happen, and in fact is already happening, is hospitals becoming the ones who have to absorb unpaid medical bills. These losses will merely translate into higher cost of care for others later, and the cycle will begin again.
Not only will the costs of providing care rise significantly, but also waiting times at urgent care and emergency rooms will get even longer than they happen to be now. The system just has so many people in it that offer health cares services and once their limit has been stretched to the max, it becomes a matter of trying to play catch-up to deal with all the patients who should not be using the hospital as a doctor’s office.
Where does it end? Where did it begin? These are the kinds of questions that plague health care providers and governments as they are trying to find solutions to this nationwide dilemma. At the bottom of this turmoil in the health care system is the fact that the national economy isn’t in great shape. Without a stable economy and a lower debt burden, the health care system will continue to be in the mess it is in today.
It’s also evident that many larger employers are starting to cut back on the kinds of health care perks they offer their employees. It has become an enormous albatross of debt for them to keep up with the rising costs. There is a shift to offering plans that pass more of the costs down to the workers.
This cycle is certainly a destructive one and one that there doesn’t seem to be too much control over. The checks and balances of the economy are out of whack. A recession has to run its course before the nation sees light at the end of the tunnel, an economy starting to recover and a health care system that isn’t overloaded with people who should be doctoring with their family physicians.
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