In Dialysis, Life-Saving Care at Great Risk and Cost
Every year, more than 100,000 Americans start dialysis. One in four of them will die within 12 months—a fatality rate that is one of the worst in the industrialized world. And dialysis arguably costs more here than anywhere else. Although taxpayers cover most of the bill, the government has kept confidential clinic data that could help patients make better decisions. How did our first foray into near-universal coverage, begun four decades ago with such great hope, turn out this way? And what lessons does it hold for the future of health care reform?
Nearly 40 years after Congress created a unique entitlement for patients with kidney failure, U.S. death rates and per-patient costs are among the world's highest while the biggest for-profit providers flourish.
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Billions in tax dollars keep 400,000 Americans on dialysis alive, but the system is riddled with problems. Help us keep this important investigation going.