Susan Starr Sered and Rushika Fernandopulle, Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity.Susan Starr Sered Susan Starr Sered is the Senior Research Associate at Suffolk University's Center for Women's Health and Human Rights, having previously been the director of the "Religion, Health and Healing Initiative" at the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, and a and Rushika Fernandopulle, Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press "UC Press" redirects here, but this is also an abbreviation for University of Chicago Press
University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. , 2005. $24.95 hardcover.
Discussion about universal health coverage has been in the prominent in the consciousness of many Americans in the last few years. With a poor economy, the rise in low-wage work, and decrease in manufacturing jobs, the proportion of Americans without health insurance is increasing. Uninsured in America provides an in-depth look at the men and women in America who do not have health insurance and provides powerful insights into the problem.
In their account, the authors focus on what they term the "death spiral Death Spiral
A type of loan investors lend to a company in exchange for convertible debt, which, like a convertible bond, typically has provisions that allow the investors to convert the bonds into stock at below-market prices. ." The root of the death spiral lies in the fact that insurance coverage is so strongly linked to employment in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . Economic forces--such as layoffs due to offshoring
Offshoring describes the relocation of business processes from one country to another. , starting one's own business, and family leave to care for small children or elderly parents--begin the spiral. As health problems go untreated, the more severe the problems become, and the more costly it becomes to treat, often forcing people without insurance to choose between forgoing doctor visits and prescriptions, or selling their homes or other possessions, with the possibility of homelessness ever-present. As a result of health problems and visible indicators of poverty such as obesity and missing teeth, securing anything more than the most minimal status job becomes difficult, and health coverage is unattainable. Thus, the people described in their book found work difficult to obtain and to keep, not only because of a lack of available jobs, but also because of untreated physical or mental health issues, and they found it difficult to make ends meet.
Starr Sered and Fernandopulle interviewed a wide range of uninsured Americans with many levels of education, including graduate degrees. Many were employed at the time of their interviews and some had the opportunity to purchase insurance, but for amounts that would significantly reduce their take-home pay take-home pay
The amount of one's salary remaining after federal, state, and often city income taxes and various other deductions have been withheld. , making it unaffordable un·af·ford·a·ble
Too expensive: medical care that has become unaffordable for many.
un . Others could not work because of untreated or under-treated health care issues. Still others had been laid off after plant closings, but their chances of securing employment again if the economy improves are slim due to health conditions that have been exacerbated with lack of care. They also demonstrate that adhering to the work ethic work ethic
A set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.
a belief in the moral value of work guarantees neither health insurance nor steady work and income.
The final chapter of the book outlines suggestions that have been made for universal health coverage in America, but there is no easy solution. The authors argue that the current system for the poor is not economically sound. Without access to preventative care, problems worsen until there is no choice except to visit the emergency room or receive other exorbitantly priced treatment, which may be paid for by Medicaid or may never be paid. They contend that any feasible solution must sever the link between paid employment and insurance and must provide a minimal level of health care for all Americans, much as we provide a minimal level of education via the public schools. They argue that not only is this a humane way to treat citizens, but it is much more cost-effective than the current system.
Krista Drescher Burke, University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university located in Berkeley, California, United States. Commonly referred to as UC Berkeley, Berkeley and Cal