Oct. 13, 2006 -- Lack of universal health care is often cited as one America's leading domestic concerns, yet states and the federal government have failed to enact long-lasting, viable solutions for reform and the United States remains the only industrialized country that does not guarantee health coverage to all its citizens.
Here are a few statistics that put the crisis in sharp relief:
FACT: One-third of adults (31 percent) and more than half of all children (54 percent) do not have a primary care doctor (National Medical Expenditure Panel Survey)
FACT: 46.6 million Americans, (15.9 percent of Americans -- about twice the population of Texas) were uninsured in 2005. (U.S. Census - August 2006)
FACT: More than two-thirds of uninsured adults in the United States, worked in 2005. In other words, 39.8 million workers, who had no health care -- more than the population of Canada.
FACT: Federal spending for health care totaled more than $600 billion in 2005, or roughly one quarter of the federal budget. (U.S. Office of Management and Budget)
FACT: The total medical expenditures for full- and part-year uninsured in 2004 came to nearly $124 billion -- more than the combined appropriations in 2004 for Iraq and the anti-terror programs.
FACT: Of 23 industrialized countries, the United States had the highest infant mortality rates. U.S. rates were similar to those of Poland and Hungary. (OECD, Commonwealth Fund Scorecard, 2006)
FACT: The United States ranked among the bottom of industrialized countries on healthy life expectancy at age 60 -- meaning Americans spend more years lived in poor health resulting from chronic illness or disability. (OECD, Commonwealth Fund: Results from a Scorecard, 2006)
FACT: Barely half -- about 49 percent -- of adults receive recommended preventive care and screening tests according to guidelines for their age and sex. (Commonwealth Fund Scorecard 2006)
FACT: Close to 100,000 Americans die annually from medical errors -- more than double the number of Americans who die annually in car crashes (Institute of Medicine).