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Health Care Woes



Health Care Woes
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.25

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    administration, availability, Levitz, outrageous, set-up, single-payer, underinsured, uninsured, physician, salary, patchwork, elderly, billing, currently, survival, coverage
     content words:    United States, Great Britain, In Sweden, In Great Britain


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Health Care Woes
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Philip was headed to a protest rally in Washington, D.C. He had health insurance through work but was in extreme debt after his daughter's treatment for cancer for all the things his insurance did not pay for. He wanted better access to health care coverage than was currently available. He also worried for the millions of people in the United States that had no insurance coverage at all. He wanted a set-up that was similar to socialized medicine, or the government run health care systems, in places like Canada, Sweden, or Great Britain.
 
2     In Canada, provinces can voluntarily participate in a federal system of medical insurance. The system is funded by taxes and government contributions. In Sweden, the country's health insurance plan provides most of the doctor's fee, compensation for loss of income, hospital care, and part of the costs of medicine. In Great Britain, doctors are paid by the government. All citizens get free physician and hospital services. Currently, there's a small fee for prescriptions, eyeglasses, and dentures.
 
3     Dr. Levitz, a physician with whom Philip became close during his daughter's illness, understands Philip's concern. He agrees that health care costs in this country are outrageous. In his opinion, the U.S. health care system is a patchwork with many gaps in coverage. He complains that private insurance companies spend too much on billing, sales, and executive pay, and that they want huge profits at the patients' expense. In addition, he complains that he hires extra staff in his office and at the hospital just to handle the paperwork. He always quotes the statistic that one out of every three health dollars in the United States goes to administration.

Paragraphs 4 to 9:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable


Extended Activities:

1.  Research socialized medicine and summarize the information you find.

2.  Create a poster Philip could carry at the rally.

3.  Write a letter from Dr. Levitz to Philip offering ideas on the ways health care could change to meet the needs of families.

4.  Develop four fundraising ideas that a neighborhood could carry out to help Philip with his family's financial needs.

5.  Take a poll of your family and friends. Would they like to see a system of socialized medicine in the United States? Create a graph displaying your results.



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