The United States could save 338,000 lives from Covid with universal health care, the study found news from the USA

According to a study, the United States could save more than 338,000 lives and more than $ 105 billion in health care costs in the Covid-19 pandemic with a universal health system.

More than 1 million people have died in the United States from Covid, in part because the country’s “fragmented and inefficient health care system” meant that uninsured or underinsured people faced financial barriers that delayed diagnosis and worsened transmission, the report said.

The United States had the highest virus mortality rate among the major rich countries and is also the only one among such countries without universal health care. It spends almost twice as much on health care per capita as other rich countries, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“The current health care system in the United States is economically inefficient and leaves millions of Americans without adequate access to medical treatment,” said Alison Galvani, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis at Yale School of Public Health and lead author of the study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The authors recommend that the country adopt Medicare for All, a one-pay health program to “facilitate recovery from the ongoing crisis and strengthen pandemic preparedness, as well as protect welfare and prosperity more broadly.”

To determine how many Covid deaths are potentially preventable, the authors build on previous studies of the insurance and mortality gap in the United States, with data on how many people have lost employer-sponsored insurance due to Covid-related business closures and restrictions. led to unemployment. .

“While the orders to stay at home and the temporary closure of non-core businesses limited the immediate spread of Covid-19 and prevented catastrophic needs for hospital capacity, the measures also led to jumps in unemployment,” the report said. “For employees, dismissal often leads to loss of insurance or the need to switch to another type.”

The authors calculated the potential cost savings from universal health care in part by reviewing the average cost of Medicare and Medicaid for Covid-19 hospitalization, which requires mechanical ventilation, which is reported to be $ 57,822 and $ 47,396, respectively. The average private insurance fee was $ 114,842.

The study also claims that fears of losing health insurance during a pandemic may have led people to go to work, even when they are not feeling well.

“Universal health care with one payer is both fiscally responsible and morally necessary for the United States,” Galvani said.

David Rosner, who studies public health and social history at Columbia University’s School of Public Health at Mailman University, described the study as “the ultimate condemnation of the health system in terms of public health.”

“It was clear that the main workers who supplied our food [and other items] the middle class were exposed disproportionately, “Rosner said. “I’m not surprised to find that these people are dying at a higher rate.”

A single-payer health system could prevent such deaths by improving access to first aid, which would lead to faster diagnosis of the virus and better treatment of comorbidities such as diabetes, the study said.

Ann Keller, an associate professor of health policy and management at the University of California, Berkeley, said the lack of a single-payer health care system is not the only reason the country has high rates of chronic disease. She also blamed the weak welfare state, poverty and food deserts.

“But other things being equal, if you provide people with ongoing health care, they are better able to prevent and manage chronic diseases once they are available,” Keller said.

Recent democratic efforts to introduce a single-pay health care system or expand the Affordable Care Act have stalled.

“The results of studies like ours are opposed to the Goliath health industry, which contributes significantly to the financing and lobbying of political campaigns,” Galvani said. “Lawmakers who are under such influence do not work for the health or prosperity of their constituents.

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