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There are several issues concerning the uninsured and underinsured patient population in America There are many areas of concern the congressional efforts to increase the availability of health insurance the public image of the insurance industry illustrated by the movie John Q the lack of good management tools and creating health insurance coverage for all low income Americans Since the number of uninsured Americans has risen to 43 million from 37 million in the flourishing 1990s and could shoot up even more severely if the economy continues to decrease and health care premiums keep increasing Insurance No Simple Fix 2001 In order to fully understand the uninsured and underinsured problem that hospital administrators face the cause must be examined The health outcomes of uninsured individuals are generally worse than those who are insured Uninsured persons are more likely to experience avoidable hospitalizations diagnosed at later stages of disease hospitalized on an emergency or urgent basis and more seriously ill upon hospitalization Simpson 2002 Because the uninsured often lack an ongoing relationship with a health-care provider they are less likely to receive preventive care and diagnostic tests Kemper 2002 Many corporations balance their budget through cost cuts and other moves but have been slammed with an increasing load of uninsured patients coupled with reduced payments from government and private insurance programs In 2000 564476 uninsured patients came through Health and Hospitals Corporations health care centers a 30 percent increase from 1996 In the same period Congress reduced Medicare reimbursements to hospitals while Medicaid reimbursements to primary care clinics remained basically unchanged and drug costs increased 16 percent between 1999 and 2001Steinhauer 2001 In addition about 58 percent of health care costs were paid out-of-pocket for children who were uninsured throughout 1996 in the United States according to a new report by the researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality AHRQ and Harvard University In comparison about 23 percent was paid out-of-pocket for children
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