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Those Americans who have been denied insurance simply because they need it--because they are sick, are finally accessing care through the federal high risk pools created by the Affordable Care Act. That is, if they can afford the premiums.

Yes, thank you President Obama for this.

However, because these people have been denied care (simply because they have the misfortune to be living in a country which regards healthcare as a privilege not a right--and even worse, a right only if you're healthy), these people are already quite sick when they enroll. The pools are running short of money, and facing claims twice the average for the entire population.

This is a result of living in a country where the government allows the for-profit insurance industry to deny coverage to sick people. This is not a country, that I want to live in. And in the era of Occupy Wall Street, you need to embrace the grotesque reality that this barbarism is allowed because our political system is rotten and corrupt to the core.

This is the situation with the ACA high risk pool in Colorado.

Colorado's troubled high-risk health-insurance pool has asked the federal government for nearly $15 million more than planned after running up early claims that are twice the national average.

High-risk, uninsurable patients were the heart of emotional pleas for national health-care reform in 2010, and Colorado got $90 million of a $5 billion federal pool to help them.

The allocation was meant to last until 2014, when insurers have to cover everyone regardless of condition.

But extremely high costs from the "sickest of the sick" forced Colorado to spend $22,500 per patient in the first year of the program, U.S. records show. The state has paid out $21.7 million in claims for 964 members of the pool.

Here's the situation with the high risk pool in Montana

According to the Washington Post one quarter of the states are running short on cash because the sickest of the sick are the ones signing up, with long delayed need for healthcare.  Some swell country we live in.

Couple these grim facts with one additional fact which should be a reason for optimism, but isn't. Health spending rose only 3.9% in 2010.  As people lose their jobs, they lose their health insurance, equally troubling since the United States rations health care based on the ability to pay, Americans who are seeing their incomes decline, are putting healthcare on the back burner. They're delaying or forgoing entirely doctor visits, hence they are also filling far fewer prescriptions. This is the reason for the lower than anticipated health care spending.

From the New York Times.

WASHINGTON — National health spending rose a slight 3.9 percent in 2010, as Americans delayed hospital care, doctor’s visits and prescription drug purchases for the second year in a row, the Obama administration reported Monday.

The recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, reined in the growth of health spending as many people lost jobs, income and health insurance, the government said in a report, published in the journal Health Affairs.

And if your soul can bear any more, I'll leave you with this.

We know that 45,000 Americans die every year, simply because they don't not have health insurance, and because in the United States healthcare is a privilege not a right.

I've always wondered what happens to a sick American, say someone with a cancer diagnosis, who needs care, but is uninsured.  

Here's your answer.

This is the United States of America.

Originally posted to nyceve on Mon Jan 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM PST.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Single Payer California.

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