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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 3/22/17

Don the Con's Health Care Ignores Deadly Ills

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Message Linn Washington
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The desperate scramble of President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress to salvage a cure for their ailing health care proposal to replace Obamacare completely ignores correcting a deadly problem plaguing the very heart of America's health care system.

The AHCA -- the GOP's American Health Care Act -- does nothing to address HAI.

This HAI is the deadly problem that causes nearly 100,000 deaths per year across America.

HAI is healthcare-associated infections. These are infections people get while in the hospital receiving treatment.

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Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last year stated that HAI impacts over 700,000 annually. "When people go to the hospital, they should not contract a preventable healthcare associated infection," noted a CDC publication.


(Image by Linn Washington Jr.)   Details   DMCA

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But Americans do contract serious infections while hospitalized and the heavily criticized AHCA, pushed by Trump and House Majority Leader Paul Ryan, omits addressing the HAI scourge that strikes Americans at alarming rates.

Incredibly with all the GOP squeals about soaring health insurance costs, HAI drains an estimated $20-billion in healthcare costs annually, according to CDC data.

The rancor swirling around health care reform across America overshadows the scandalous inability of this nation's political and business leaders to address serious problems infecting core health care system pillars -- problems that are generally preventable and problems that if eliminated would save billions of dollars.

The Trump/GOP advanced AHCA, for example, does not launch a concerted attack on medical errors.

Errors in medical treatment cause more than 250,000 deaths per year according to a study released in October 2016 by a team of patient safety experts at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. That study discovered that medical errors now rank as the third leading cause of death in America.

Diabetes is one of America's ten most deadly diseases, causing over one million deaths annually. Almost ten percent of the entire U.S. population has some form of diabetes. Diabetes impacts around 13 percent of both Hispanics and blacks.

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And this disease costs the American economy a staggering $245-billion annually according to an assessment released a few years ago.

Medical experts note the most common form of diabetes -- Type 2 -- arises from poor diet, lack of exercise and carrying too much weigh. Thus, key causes of Type 2 diabetes are preventable, producing decreases in suffering and painfully high health care costs. Yet, the GOP's AHCA does nothing to prioritize prevention related to diabetes.

The conservative Republicans now controlling Capitol Hill love to tag themselves as 'tough on crime' yet these protectors of the public (tax) purse have not declared war on the fraud and abuse draining billions from federally funded health care programs.

A Government Accounting Office (GAO) report released a few months ago recorded $36-billion in improper Medicaid payments and $41-billion in Medicare payments.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
 
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