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Focus is on Supreme Court as it reviews federal health care law

Ironically, many of the things typically associated with medical malpractice -- such as a delayed diagnosis of cancer or the misdiagnosis of illness -- never actually result in a claim of hospital negligence at all.

The reason for that: The cost of medical care is so exorbitantly high for many persons that they never see a doctor to begin with. Rather, they are forced to guess as to their own health, relying on instincts, self-medicating and, essentially, just hoping for the best.

A new study recently published in the academic journal Health Affairs implicitly recognizes that in its discussion of insurance purchased by individuals rather than received through employer-provided insurance plans.

The bottom line for many people, regardless of whether they are uninsured or have paid for personal medical insurance without employer contribution, is this: So much money is required of them for medical care that they often simply forgo it, with obvious and dire consequences in many instances.

A new federal health care law is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Its proponents say that passage will without doubt render care more affordable and accessible to many more Americans. The law places a ceiling on what a person would have to pay both annually and over a lifetime for medical bills.

Critics lambast the legislation, stating that enactment will drive costs up even further, owing to provisions that expand what is covered and would require insurers to cover pre-existing medical conditions.

Advocates counter those claims, though, noting that more affordable insurance would attract a large pool of consumers, which in turn would drive down costs and spread the risk of insuring people with serious conditions who require expensive care.

We will keep readers apprised of any material developments in the law and the Court's review of its legality.

Source: New York Times, "Individual health policies fall short, a study finds," Reed Abelson, May 23, 2012

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