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Healthcare for the uninsured

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Medicaid.
  3. Medicare
  4. Children.
  5. What is to be done?

It can be said, with some truth, that the American healthcare system is the best in the world. Technology levels are high, specialists abound, innovations in treatment, care, and prevention are matters of course, and physicians and other medical professionals are well-paid, high status, and thus highly motivated to perform well for their patients. However, the American healthcare system is also entirely inadequate for millions of people who are uninsured, underinsured, or otherwise "medically poor." (Popple and Leighninger 2002, p. 412) There are huge gaps in the security of the system, even including public health interventions such as Medicaid (for the poor), Medicare (for the elderly), and various state and local initiatives (such as New Jersey's "charity care", paid for by taxes on cigarettes).

[...] Other plans, over the years, have included the privatization of Social Security, the founding of healthcare savings accounts (interest would be tax free) and other plans designed to give people with the money for insurance incentives to purchase it, rather than having a public provision for health insurance or direct healthcare. Children The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 created the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that provides funding to states enabling them to expand their health care coverage to uninsured, low-income children. [...]

[...] After that, Medicare pays the entire cost of the hospital stay for stays up to 60 days. Individuals pay a co-payment of $210 per day for days 61-90 and $420 for days 91-150. Beyond day 150, Medicare pays nothing toward medical bills. (Hoover et al, 2003) Medicare is under fierce criticism for both complexity and the pure expense of the program unlike Medicaid it cannot be said that the program is an investment in poor families or children; the majority of Medicare expenses are accrued in the final months of an elderly citizen's life. [...]

[...] Although federal requirements apply to groups of the poor who must be provided Medicaid coverage and also to federally-mandated services, states have flexibility in establishing the amount of income and resources which a person can have and still qualify for the Medicaid program in that state. Similarly, some states cover almost all physician care as well as much dental and eye care while others cover no dental or eye care and even specify the number of medications which a person can obtain each month to a limit, such as three. [...]

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