Why Does the Superbowl Have More Healthcare Than America?
When looking at the scale of time, investment and care that's put into building the perfect on-site healthcare model for just a few hours of a game, we should ask questions.
Not to knock the Super Bowl (we here at theBEnote, full disclosure, do have a personal hometown stake in it), but as a general public we should question why we accept greater investments in a form of entertainment such as the sports industrial complex than we do critical investments in ourselves as a whole. One form of critical investment that the most Americans still lack adequate access to is healthcare.
Yet, when you read this recent Philadelphia Inquirer article, the scale of healthcare being provided for just several hours of show and game time is 1) quite astonishing and 2) quite offensive, considering what we know about healthcare and wellness in America today …
Ellis and a team of NFL doctors and trainers were in State Farm Stadium Thursday afternoon to discuss team health and safety, everything from live births to concussions, days ahead of the Super Bowl. Officials added that every NFL game is paid this much attention, when it comes to health and safety protocols.
“Everything you’re going to see today is not here just because it’s the Super Bowl,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “We have to plan against the common scenarios that we might see. We all hope and pray we’ll never see any of those, but as [we] saw earlier this year, sometimes that’s needed and when it’s needed, we want to be prepared.” Sills referred to the time in December when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and was revived on the field.
“Our emergency plan was handled to a T a few weeks ago with the Damar Hamlin situation,” Ellis said. “There was a good outcome because we followed the plan. We also practiced the plan extensively in the preseason. We practice a cardiac arrest scenario. We practice doing CPR and using the defibrillator.”
The Super Bowl’s medical team will number about 30, including staff from both teams, the NFL, and the stadium. That includes a dentist, an ophthalmologist, and a chiropractor. There will be two ambulances parked, just beyond the end zone, ready to take injured players to the nearest trauma center if needed.
Now, of course: football is a very dangerous sport. Players should be kept safe, healthy and alive. No one should be losing their life during a game, much less one in front of a viewing public of hundreds of millions. We shouldn’t deprive these young men on the grid iron of critical emergency healthcare. And for large mass public gatherings like this, there should also be some level of emergency preparedness. But, the degree of dollars, scale and personnel that goes into providing what amounts to a highly advanced one-day hospital is incredibly obnoxious - down to the dental care and chiropractor - when the United State ranks dead last among industrialized nations in the delivery of healthcare …
We keep accepting that. We’re fine with the amount of meticulous care, preparation and funding that goes into perfection of healthcare delivery for America’s most popular sporting event. But, we’re not demanding the same for the excessive number of Americans who are uninsured or who are deprived of quality health insurance coverage. As the Peter G. Peterson Foundation explains that even with the Affordable Care Act in place …
Census data show that there were more people insured in 2021 than 2018 — an increase of 4.7 million people. The increase in insured people was driven by increased enrollment in government-sponsored health insurance. Changes in coverage between 2018 and 2021 may be related to changes in labor force composition throughout the pandemic and recent economic recovery, in addition to policies addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Census data show that the uninsured rate of 8.3 percent in 2021 was meaningfully different than the uninsured rate of 8.5 percent in 2018. The most notable change that contributed to this effect was that the percent of people covered by public health insurance increased by 1.3 percentage points between 2018 and 2021, which offset the decrease in private coverage. Specifically, Medicare coverage increased 0.6 percentage points from 17.8 percent to 18.4 percent over the year; and Medicaid coverage grew slightly more at 1.0 percentage point — from 17.9 percent to 18.9 percent.
The Superbowl gets on-site dentists. But, 77 percent of Americans won’t get it …
… [T]he second annual State of Oral Health Equity in America survey in a webinar last week. According to the survey, 77 million adults in the US do not have dental insurance, and disparities in oral health exist for many populations, including people of color, low-income or uninsured people, and veterans.
Overall, 44 percent of Americans, according to a West Care/Gallup study, are either healthcare cost insecure or desperate …
We want it for the Super Bowl. But we don’t want it for us.