US Health Care System Limitations Affect Insured As Well

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"Thetedious, hair-splitting debates over health care that we're getting from thepresidential candidates -- those who talk about health care at all -- seem outof sync with the enormity of the problem," Bob Herbert writes in a New York Times column. He continues, "Forfamilies without the protection of health insurance, the devastatingcombination of serious illness and imminent financial ruin can be absolutelymind-numbing, stunning in its tragic intensity."

However, while much of the health caredebate "has centered on people without insurance," there also arecases "all over the country in which individuals are working and payingfor coverage that, perversely, kicks out when a devastating illness kicksin," Herbert writes. U.S.residents "with inadequate health coverage -- the underinsured -- are amajor component of the national health care crisis," Herbert says, adding,"Like the uninsured, they can be denied desperately needed treatment forfinancial reasons; they often suffer financial ruin; and in many cases, theydie unnecessarily" (Herbert, New York Times, 11/17).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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