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Auchter's Art: The punishing nature of American health care

John Auchter
Michigan Radio

Thursday is normally deadline day for submitting my cartoon, but with Thanksgiving this week, the deadline was moved up a day or two. That always presents a challenge to pick a topic that I have some confidence will remain relevant.

For years now (decades, actually), I've drawn cartoons about the United States being the only developed nation in the world where medical debt is the primary cause of personal bankruptcy. So when I came across the story about Singapore threatening punishment for those refusing the COVID-19 vaccine with medial debt, I thought, "Perfect — this is a topic I know isn't going to change any time soon."

And it seemed especially on-point with so many Michigan hospitals now at full capacity with unvaccinated patients. Yes, there is boatloads of federal money that supposedly will cover all COVID-related costs, but it won't. You know it, I know it. And if it did cover initial treatment costs, there are going to be so, so many with additional costs from the lingering effects. No way that's gonna be covered. That's just how messed up and needlessly expensive our health care system is.

If you want a good summary, you can check out the Medical Debt article in Wikipedia. I know, it's Wikipedia, but you can follow the many reputable citations from the Pew Research Center, Kaiser Family Foundation, and others if you want to get to the details.

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganPublic.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.