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Economy
See other Economy Articles

Title: 47 Percent Of Americans Cannot Even Come Up With $400 To Cover An Emergency Room Visit
Source: The Economic Collapse
URL Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/ ... -cover-an-emergency-room-visit
Published: Apr 20, 2016
Author: Michael Snyder
Post Date: 2016-04-21 20:54:30 by U don't know me
Keywords: None
Views: 1873
Comments: 17

47 Percent Of Americans Cannot Even Come Up With $400 To Cover An Emergency Room Visit By Michael Snyder, on April 20th, 2016

If you had to make a sudden visit to the emergency room, would you have enough money to pay for it without selling something or borrowing the funds from somewhere? Most Americans may not realize this, but this is something that the Federal Reserve has actually been tracking for several years now. And according to the Fed, an astounding 47 percent of all Americans could not come up with $400 to pay for an emergency room visit without borrowing it or selling something. Various surveys that I have talked about in the past have found that more than 60 percent of all Americans are living to paycheck to paycheck, but I didn’t realize that things were quite this bad for about half the country. If you can’t even come up with $400 for an unexpected emergency room visit, then you are just surviving from month to month by the skin of your teeth. Unfortunately, about half of us are currently in that situation.

Earlier today someone pointed me toward an excellent article in The Atlantic that discussed this, and I have to admit that The Atlantic is one of the last remaining bastions of old school excellence in journalism that you will find in the mainstream media. Of course I don’t see eye to eye with them on a lot of things philosophically, but there are some really hard working journalists over there.

The article where I found the 47 percent figure comes from The Atlantic, and it is entitled “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans“. It was authored by Neal Gabler, and he says that he can identify with the 47 percent of Americans that don’t have $400 for an unexpected emergency room visit because he is one of them…

I know what it is like to have to juggle creditors to make it through a week. I know what it is like to have to swallow my pride and constantly dun people to pay me so that I can pay others. I know what it is like to have liens slapped on me and to have my bank account levied by creditors. I know what it is like to be down to my last $5—literally—while I wait for a paycheck to arrive, and I know what it is like to subsist for days on a diet of eggs. I know what it is like to dread going to the mailbox, because there will always be new bills to pay but seldom a check with which to pay them. I know what it is like to have to tell my daughter that I didn’t know if I would be able to pay for her wedding; it all depended on whether something good happened. And I know what it is like to have to borrow money from my adult daughters because my wife and I ran out of heating oil.

To me, this is yet more evidence that the middle class in America is dying.

Last year, it was reported that middle class Americans make up a minority of the population for the very first time in our history.

But back in 1971, 61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households.

So what happened?

Well, the big corporations started shipping millions of good paying manufacturing jobs overseas. Millions of other good paying jobs were replaced by technology, and the competition for the good jobs that remained became extremely intense.

During the good times, the U.S. economy still created new jobs, but most of those jobs were low paying service jobs.

At this point, a majority of American workers have jobs that would be considered low paying. In fact, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year according to the Social Security Administration.

And once you account for inflation, the truth is that our incomes have been going down for years. According to a study that was released by Pew Charitable Trusts, median household income in the United States decreased by 13 percent between 2004 and 2014.

That isn’t “progress” any way that you slice it.

If you go all the way back to 1970, the middle class took home approximately 62 percent of all income in the United States.

Today, that number has fallen to just 43 percent.

So the fact that 47 percent of Americans can’t even pay for an unexpected emergency room visit is not exactly a surprise. To be honest, a whole host of other surveys have come up with similar numbers. Here is more from Neal Gabler…

A 2014 Bankrate survey, echoing the Fed’s data, found that only 38 percent of Americans would cover a $1,000 emergency-room visit or $500 car repair with money they’d saved. Two reports published last year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found, respectively, that 55 percent of households didn’t have enough liquid savings to replace a month’s worth of lost income, and that of the 56 percent of people who said they’d worried about their finances in the previous year, 71 percent were concerned about having enough money to cover everyday expenses.

What all of these numbers tell us is that the middle class is disappearing. I tend to compare it to a game of really bizarre musical chairs. With each passing month more chairs are being pulled out of the circle, and those members of the middle class that haven’t fallen into poverty yet are just hoping that a chair will still be there for them when the music stops.

Even during the “Obama recovery”, we have seen poverty in America absolutely explode. In fact, some brand new numbers just came out that are quite startling. The following comes from another author for The Atlantic named Gillian B. White…

Recently, the Brookings Institution published a report looking at the same idea but giving it a different name. The paper, builds on research from the British economist William Beveridge, who in 1942 proposed five types of poverty: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness, and disease. In modern terms, these could be defined as poverty related to housing, education, income, employment, and healthcare, respectively. Analyzing the 2014 American Community Survey, the paper’s co-authors, Richard Reeves, Edward Rodrigue, and Elizabeth Kneebone, found that half of Americans experience at least one of these types of poverty, and around 25 percent suffer from at least two.

To underscore this point, let me just run five quick facts about the growth of poverty in this country by you…

–The number of Americans that are living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.

–In 2007, about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps. Today, that number is one out of every five.

–46 million Americans use food banks each year, and lines start forming at some U.S. food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning because people want to get something before the food supplies run out.

–The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percent over the past six years.

–According to Poverty USA, 1.6 million American children slept in a homeless shelter or some other form of emergency housing last year.

That last number really gets me every time.

How can “the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the planet” have more than a million homeless children?

This is one of the reasons why I hammer on our ongoing economic collapse over and over and over. It is affecting real families with real children that have real hopes and real dreams.

This is not the way our country is supposed to work.

It is supposed to be “the land of opportunity”.

It is supposed to be a place where anyone can live “the American Dream”.

But instead it has become an economic wasteland where the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world is being systematically eviscerated.

So no, the U.S. economy is not doing “just fine” – anyone that tries to tell you that lie is simply peddling fiction.

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#1. To: U don't know me (#0)

47 Percent Of Americans Cannot Even Come Up With $400 To Cover An Emergency Room Visit

Who the hell gets 400 dollar ER bills? I think the cheapest I ever got out of a ER was around 1600 bucks.

BOYCOTT PAYPAL AND CLOSE YOUR PP ACCOUNTS NOW! ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO,TOO!

ISLAM MEANS SUBMISSION!

Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority? (Ron Paul,2012)

American Indians had open borders. Look at how well that worked out for them.

sneakypete  posted on  2016-04-21   21:22:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: sneakypete (#1) (Edited)

47 Percent Of Americans Cannot Even Come Up With $400 To Cover An Emergency Room Visit

Where I live the ER is free so having to pay for the ER just doesn't compute. How can people profit from someoneelse's misery?

You have to know that things are tough all over, and that makes it hard for the poor and unemployed, but adding insult to injury just doesn't cut it

paraclete  posted on  2016-04-21   22:19:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: paraclete (#2)

Where I live the ER is free so having to pay for the ER just doesn't compute. How can people profit from someoneelse's misery?

Nothing is free.

My friend's daughter went to ER recently. She has health insurance. While she was moaning and in pain, the ER wanted a $178 copay before they'd let a doctor look at her.

Her dad was pissed off to no end.

Fred Mertz  posted on  2016-04-21   22:31:00 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: paraclete (#2)

Where I live the ER is free

That's one of the most ignorant things I've seen posted, not from a Paultard.

I'm the infidel... Allah warned you about. كافر المسلح

GrandIsland  posted on  2016-04-21   22:43:35 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: paraclete (#2)

Where I live the ER is free....

And no doubt worth what you pay for it.

BOYCOTT PAYPAL AND CLOSE YOUR PP ACCOUNTS NOW! ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO,TOO!

ISLAM MEANS SUBMISSION!

Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority? (Ron Paul,2012)

American Indians had open borders. Look at how well that worked out for them.

sneakypete  posted on  2016-04-21   22:44:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: GrandIsland, paraclete (#4)

Where I live the ER is free

That's one of the most ignorant things I've seen posted, not from a Paultard.

It may simply imply that paraclete lives outside the U.S., someplace with a national health system. There is very little personal expense involved.

nolu chan  posted on  2016-04-21   23:32:20 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: nolu chan, GrandIsland, paraclete (#6)

It may simply imply that paraclete lives outside the U.S., someplace with a national health system. There is very little personal expense involved.

Now that is one of the most ignorant things I've seen posted.

Paraclete lives in the Land Down Under where the government pays for healthcare not people. All socialized/universal healthcare is free. Riiiiight.........

"In Australia Medicare is funded partly by a 2% Medicare levy (with exceptions for low-income earners), with the balance being provided by government from general revenue. An additional levy of 1% is imposed on high- income earners without private health insurance. As well as Medicare, there is a separate Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme also funded by the federal government which considerably subsidises a range of prescription medications."

It's the government that pays not paraclete or any of his mates. Riiiiiiight....

потому что Бог хочет это тот путь

SOSO  posted on  2016-04-22   0:24:26 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Fred Mertz, paraclete (#3)

My friend's daughter went to ER recently. She has health insurance. While she was moaning and in pain, the ER wanted a $178 copay before they'd let a doctor look at her.

Her dad was pissed off to no end.

I would be too. Besides it illegal, i.e. - an emergency room cannot refuse treatment to anyone, even if they cannot pay.

"Can hospitals turn away patients?

Privately-owned hospitals may turn away patients in a non-emergency, but public hospitals cannot refuse care. Public hospitals, funded by taxpayer dollars, are held to a different standard than privately owned for-profit hospitals. This means that a public hospital is the best option for those without health insurance or the means to pay for care.

The Emergency Medical and Treatment Labor Act (EMTLA)

Public and private hospitals alike are prohibited by law from denying a patient care in an emergency. The Emergency Medical and Treatment Labor Act (EMTLA) passed by Congress in 1986 explicitly forbids the denial of care to indigent or uninsured patients based on a lack of ability to pay. It also prohibits unnecessary transfers while care is being administered and prohibits the suspension of care once it is initiated, provisions that prevent dumping patients who cannot pay on other hospitals. The treatment of indigent and uninsured patients is a huge financial drain upon the health system, especially in areas where no public hospitals are available.

While EMTLA does not prohibit care providers from asking about a patient’s ability to pay, it does make it very clear that emergency treatment cannot be delayed while ability to pay is being checked. Essentially, the law establishes a “treat first, ask questions later” policy. This policy serves a dual purpose by protecting both private hospitals and patients. Private hospitals are protected because they can deny non-emergency care based upon ability to pay and patients are protected because refusal or delay of emergency care based on means to pay is illegal.

Patient Protection Under The EMTLA What is to prevent a hospital from denying care and then lying about the severity of a patient’s condition? A schedule of stiff fines included in EMTLA is intended to discourage lying about a patient’s condition with extreme prejudice. Both hospitals and individual doctors can be held liable under EMTLA, doubling potential financial punishment. In a business that, for better or for worse, revolves around the bottom line, the threat of fines in excess of $50,000 is enough to give most hospitals and doctors pause before downplaying a patient’s condition.

Imagine a pregnant woman without health insurance living in an area that does not have a public hospital. If she goes into labor and the closest hospital is privately-run, the EMTLA requires that the hospital must admit the woman regardless of her ability to pay as childbirth is considered an emergency situation. The woman's labor and delivery care, regardless of length and complication, should be indistinguishable from that of a fully insured patient. This equal treatment will continue until the end of the emergency (i.e. after the child is born and there are no complications)."

потому что Бог хочет это тот путь

SOSO  posted on  2016-04-22   0:36:03 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: SOSO (#8)

I forgot to mention the daughter did pay half of her ER copay and was treated. She could have paid it all at once, but was very irritated by their focus on money first, patient care second.

Fred Mertz  posted on  2016-04-22   6:19:45 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Fred Mertz (#9)

but was very irritated by their focus on money first, patient care second.

You might wanna research the massive accounts receivables that most hospitals have. Most are owed millions upon millions.... my peers have evolved into lazy dysfunctional slugs that put paying their debt obligations low on the priority pole.

Then, a socialist like you would support eliminating college loan debt because your heart bleeds for an idiot that spends 100K for an underwater basket weaving degree. Thus making the sheep of my republic EVEN MORE DEPENDENT and less responsible for personal choices. Kinda like drug addiction.

I'm the infidel... Allah warned you about. كافر المسلح

GrandIsland  posted on  2016-04-22   7:26:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: nolu chan (#6)

He's an Aussie.

A K A Stone  posted on  2016-04-22   9:20:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: A K A Stone (#11)

He's an Aussie.

This is true, and what we offer you is a different perspective within a successful capitalist model. You might think we have too much regulation, too much intervention and that this lessens freedom but I am just as free as you are, I don't experience a heavy handed partisan police force, I don't have local government interferring in my life, I don't have a government producing tomes of legislation, and yes, when some of the changes were made, I wasn't on side, but, and I stress this, there are few people here who don't know where their next meal is coming from

paraclete  posted on  2016-04-22   21:10:28 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: paraclete (#2)

How can people profit from someoneelse's misery?

Just look at the pharma/cancer connection. A cash cow.

U don't know me  posted on  2016-04-22   21:27:26 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: Fred Mertz (#9)

money first, patient care second.

The american way.

U don't know me  posted on  2016-04-22   21:30:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#15. To: paraclete (#12)

This is true, and what we offer you is a different perspective within a successful capitalist model. You might think we have too much regulation, too much intervention and that this lessens freedom but I am just as free as you are, I don't experience a heavy handed partisan police force, I don't have local government interferring in my life, I don't have a government producing tomes of legislation, and yes, when some of the changes were made, I wasn't on side, but, and I stress this, there are few people here who don't know where their next meal is coming from

I don't know a lot about your government. I know they took most of your guns away.

I know it is a beautiful place that I would love to visit.

I know Ken Ham comes from there and I like him a great deal.

A K A Stone  posted on  2016-04-22   23:21:33 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#16. To: SOSO (#7)

It may simply imply that paraclete lives outside the U.S., someplace with a national health system. There is very little personal expense involved.

Now that is one of the most ignorant things I've seen posted.

It is you who seem to be ignorant of National Health systems.

The personal National Health out-of-pocket expense at the hospital or other facility tends to very, very low. My experience is in the UK, not Australia.

If you want to consider costs via taxes or other government revenue, it is still greatly less than the cost of American health care.

American health care has declined since doctors stopped running hospitals and MBAs took over. It is now more efficient and the cattle are moved through more quickly, but at the expense of the time spent per patient visit.

And there is the health insurance industry. It provides no health care but adds massively to the cost of health care.

The U.S. government has demonstrated that it cannot organize non-corrupt health care for veterans. There is no reason to believe it could or would do better with 300+ million patients in a single payer system. That is not a condemnation of such a system. Other governments make it work. The U.S. government thrives on fraud, waste, and abuse.

nolu chan  posted on  2016-04-23   0:13:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: nolu chan (#16)

Other governments make it work.

At what cost? It is not free by any stretch of the imagination, no matter how much dope you are doing. Where does the government get the money to pay the healthcare expenses in these utopian healthcare countries? Take your time or better yet ask someone who understands what taxes are, in all forms.

"The U.S. government has demonstrated that it cannot organize non-corrupt health care for veterans. There is no reason to believe it could or would do better with 300+ million patients in a single payer system."

None whatsoever. As for those countries that make it work, I guess that is why those that can afford it choose to come to the U.S. to get treatment. I have spoken with many of your country's expats and others from Western European countries that have your so-called "free" healthcare and they tell a much, much different story from yours.

But you may continue to think that that there's government money for nothing and the healthcare is free if you wish.

потому что Бог хочет это тот путь

SOSO  posted on  2016-04-23   0:47:21 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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