Health care claims are bogus

March 19, 2013

Rutland Herald

Comments in the recent Times Argus article with the headline “Uninsured drop nearly a third,” there were two appalling findings from the Department of Finance survey that were omitted from the article:

— In the 2012 survey, 15.6 percent of Vermonters, or 96,000-plus, had forgone health care due to cost. One reason many tend to put off primary care is due to high deductibles and copays. Minor medical conditions then lead to major ones resulting in huge hospital bills. (See Time magazine — “Bitter pill” by Steve Brill.) This directly relates to the next finding.

— In 2012, 15.1 percent, or 94,000-plus, Vermonters had been contacted by a collection agency for unpaid medical bills. For the vast majority, it isn’t because they won’t pay; it’s because they can’t.

The sad fact is although a shocking 1 in 7 Vermonters is in the above categories, we are still one of the best states concerning health care coverage. Not so incidentally, medical bills also account for 62 percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. as the above Time magazine article points out. So much for our non-health, health care system.

Getting back to the Times Argus article, this still amounts to an unacceptable 42,000-plus without any health coverage and is nothing to be excited about as the headline seems to suggest. The survey also points out that those over 65 have virtually 100 percent health coverage due to Medicare, our only version of a “single payer” universal health care plan. Without Medicare the above findings would be off the charts.

Jerry Kilcourse