“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the US. In 2011, the American Heart Association (AHA) predicted that by 2030, over 40% of the U.S. population (>100 million Americans) would suffer from some form of CVD. Disturbingly, we reached that in 2015, 15 years sooner than anticipated. By 2035, the cost of CVD in the US is estimated to be $1.1 trillion!
Ethnicity & socioeconomic status impose a disproportionate toll on life expectancy related to CVD. These groups confront more barriers to CVD diagnosis and care, receive lower quality treatment and experience worse health outcomes. Such disparities are linked to income, education, physical environment, access to care, social support, and cultural & communication barriers.
With limited access to preventive care services, the occurrence of an acute cardiovascular illness results in substantial financial burden often leading into debt or bankruptcy. This begins a vicious cycle of debt, homelessness and loss of jobs, which spirals quickly into despair, adding further to the toll of mental health disorders.
In Minnesota, despite one of the best overall high quality of medical care in the US, the same problems afflict our society as well. In Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties, preventable death rates for blacks and Native Americans are twice that of whites.
Rahma Heart Care is a small attempt to bridge the gap in access to cardiovascular care, free of cost, to anyone who cannot afford care at conventional heath care systems.
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Most uninsured people do not receive health services for free or at reduced charge. The uninsured patients often pay much more than what health insurers and public programs actually pay for hospital services for those insured. This results in extreme financial distress for those already unable to afford insurance.
The Institute of Medicine estimates that $65 billion to $130 billion is lost every year in wages and benefits because of the uninsured, but if insurance was provided to the estimated 46 million Americans who do not have it, it would cost $39 billion-$69 billion a year.
Going without coverage can have serious health consequences for the uninsured because they receive less preventive care, and delayed care often results in serious illness or other health problems. Being uninsured also can have serious financial consequences.
The number of Americans without health insurance has increased by 7 million since 2016. The country's uninsured rate has steadily ticked upward since 2016, rising from a low of 10.9 percent in late 2016 to 13.7 percent — a four-year high. Some studies estimate that 20% of Americans are uninsured, not accounting for undocumented immigrants.
People without insurance coverage have worse access to care than people who are insured. One in five uninsured adults in 2017 went without needed medical care due to cost. Studies repeatedly demonstrate that the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases.
Even under the ACA, many uninsured people cite the high cost of insurance as the main reason they lack coverage. In 2017, 45% of uninsured adults said that they remained uninsured because the cost of coverage was too high. Many people do not have access to coverage through a job, and some people, particularly poor adults in states that did not expand Medicaid, remain ineligible for financial assistance for coverage. Some people who are eligible for financial assistance under the ACA may not know they can get help, and undocumented immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid or Marketplace coverage.
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