Oh what a prophet…In 2009 Bloomberg Business reported that a Harvard University study found that 62% of all personal bankruptcies were medical related and 50% of all residential foreclosures are the direct result of health care costs incurred by the family that lives there. In the U.S. someone files for bankruptcy every 30 seconds in the aftermath of a serious health problem. And poor people are not the only ones affected. This is an issue that touches each one of us.
Health care providers who are only able to collect a fraction of their billings because of a patient’s bankruptcy or simple inability to pay, must either increase billing rates or decrease overhead.
Decreasing overhead means employee layoffs or a lower quality of medical care. Increasing billing rates will result in additional bankruptcies. This pervasive vicious circle illustrates clearly why outgoing Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, says that “unless we resolve the health care issue, the economic issues we are grappling with today will be unresolved and will only grow in complexity and in depth.”
Most hospitals in Oklahoma, particularly rural hospitals, are writing off millions of dollars in bad debt. It isn’t like patients do not want to pay, but the age old practice of using produce and eggs to satisfy a medical bill no longer pays the electric bill, allows the hospital to meet payroll or make payments on advanced medical equipment needed in today’s medical science. In 2009, American families paid an average of $1,100 more in health insurance premiums every year to help cover the cost of medical care for the 47 million Americans who had no insurance.
If the Affordable Care Act is not the answer to the health care crisis, then it is imperative that an alternative solution be proposed. It does not matter to Americans whether the leadership for that solution is Democratic or Republican, but shutting down the federal government without putting a solution to the health care crisis on the table is irresponsible. What would Will Rogers say about that? He already did. On July 28, 1935, only 18 days before he and Wiley Post perished in the plane crash in Alaska, Will said, “There is nothing as easy as denouncing..... It don't take much to say that something is wrong, but it does take some eyesight to see what will put it right.”
I appreciate the opportunity to serve you as your State Representative. If there is ever anything that I can do to assist you, please call me at 405-557-7401 or eMail me at David.Perryman@okhouse.gov
I look forward to seeing you soon.