The United States has such significant health care disparity that it is the only developed country that relies on private health insurance. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, approximately 20% of Americans had little or no health insurance. As a result, about 45,000 of those people died each year due to the expensive cost of health care.
The United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet its healthcare system is a disgrace. How can such a wealthy country be at the bottom of healthcare statistics given how much money it spends—research shows that the United States spends more on healthcare than any other country. In 2020, annual health expenditures were expected to exceed $4 trillion USD, with personal health care spending totaling $10,202 USD.
I’m curious where all that money goes. Our system prioritizes disease, specialty treatment, and technology over preventive care. Inpatient treatment, intensive care units, and subspecialties such as cardiology and gastroenterology are prioritized over nutrition, exercise, mental health, and primary care education. Doctors in high-tech specialties (such as anesthesiology, cardiology, or surgery) often earn far more than those in primary care.
You visit the doctor for a sunburn rush and receive a bill for approximately nine hundred dollars. Keep in mind that the time you spent with the doctor was about 2 minutes. For individuals who have health insurance, the bill will be lower or even covered. In fact, even insured Americans spend more money out of pocket for healthcare than residents in most other wealthy countries. Some people resort to buying drugs from other nations where the prices are much lower. Even though the power structure may be agreeable to healthcare insurers, pharmaceutical firms, and those healthcare professionals who benefit financially from it, our existing healthcare system is not financially sustainable. So, how much do you think individuals without insurance suffer from the consequences? This is completely ridiculous!
The most outrageous thing is that if you don’t have health insurance for a certain length of time in a year, you have to pay a fine/penalty to the IRS. In any case, health insurance is required. Even folks in the middle class who have health insurance risk devastation due to health care disparities. The rising expense of healthcare services can push people into poverty. According to a 2018 research, medical bills drove Seven million people below the federal poverty level. Medical bills have become the most profitable line of business for collection agencies. When it came to medical bankruptcy, the insured were 6% more likely than the uninsured to have declared bankruptcy in the past. They had not budgeted for unanticipated deductible and coinsurance fees. Almost two-thirds were unaware that their hospital was not included in their plan. Approximately 25% had their insurance claims dismissed. Every year, around 530,000 people file for medical bankruptcy. Health insurance providers have been raising patients’ medical expenditures by raising deductibles, which more than doubled between 2007 and 2017. At the same time, employers’ share has decreased. The average deductible in employer-sponsored health plans increased by 255 % between 2006 and 2018. Even those on Medicare are at risk. During retirement, the average 65-year-old couple anticipates $295,000 in medical expenditures. Most of them haven’t saved enough to cover these expenses without jeopardizing their retirement plans.
Is the purpose of our healthcare system to serve the public or to generate profit? A woman in labor was turned away from a private hospital in Alameda County because the hospital’s computer indicated that she did not have insurance. In a county hospital hours later, she gave birth to a stillborn infant. A hospital surgeon in San Bernardino sent a patient who had been attacked and stabbed in the heart to a county medical center after determining that his condition was stable. The patient arrived at the county medical facility in a comatose state, suffered a heart arrest, and subsequently died. These two hospitals transferred these patients to county facilities for economic, not medical, reasons — the receiving hospitals feared they would not be reimbursed for treating the patient. These patients were simply “bad business.”
“The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”.Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director-General, World Health Organization
Everyone should have access to the health treatments they require, when and where they need them, without experiencing financial hardship. When individuals experience marginalization, stigma, or prejudice, their physical and mental health deteriorates. Given the complex and confounding variables that accompany health care in the United States, even contemplating it is a source of stress. But when individuals are given the opportunity to be active participants in their own treatment, rather than passive recipients, and their human rights are respected, the outcomes improve and health systems become more efficient.
We must all work together to eliminate disparities and discriminatory actions so that everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, health status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or migration status, can experience the benefits of good health.
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2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey. (2021, November 10). KFF; http://www.kff.org. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/report/2021-employer-health-benefits-survey/
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