Monday, October 26, 2009

H1N1 and the uninsured in America

Let's face it: many uninsured patients don't have primary care providers. They are reluctant to seek medical care because they can't afford it, and more importantly - they're afraid of the potential medical bills that may result from a sick visit.

So, what's going to happen to the uninsured as H1N1 spreads across the country? We know it's going to spread because we can't stop it. Global public health agencies have admitted that H1N1 simply can't be stopped.
  • We're not going to see any type of public option emerge this fall/winter. There will be no universal health coverage to help patients this winter.
  • Unemployment is still a significant problem in this country. With unemployment comes uninsured patients and families.
  • H1N1 may lead to increased hospitalization. How will individuals handle these hospital bills?
Here's a novel thought: if you're uninsured in the United States, perhaps you may wish to spend this winter in a westernized country that offers free universal health care coverage. That way, if you get sick, you'll have access to free health care. Do you have any relatives living in other countries?

This winter will be a trying period for many individuals and families living in the United States. My hope and prayer is that H1N1 infections will be mild and that they won't cause too many hospitalizations or deaths. If we all do our part to wash our hands and practice good sanitation and hygiene, then I think we'll help prevent the spread of this contagious virus.

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