Getting the Facts Straight on America's Healthcare System

Op-ed

The US Healthcare System is the worst of any developed nation, factoring in cost and quality of care. The United States healthcare costs are grossly expensive, with each person spending $11,582 for insurance. This is almost $4,000 greater than other developed nations.

Economic Struggles:

Due to higher costs, health insurance has put a strain on Americans’ economic freedom. According to CNBC, 137.1 million Americans have faced financial hardship due to medical costs this year. That’s around a third of the entire population.

In addition, expenses from health care forced about 8 million people into poverty in 2018, as stated by the Census Bureau. Medical bills are consistently the most common type of unpaid bills and are the leading cause of bankruptcy for people in the US.

Not only does the healthcare system impact individual families, but it also reduces economic productivity. Approximately half of all employed Americans are forced to stay in their job lest they lose their health insurance. Struggling families are unable to pursue greater education or find new jobs. This hurts their chances of greater success, and it’s because of the high costs of health insurance.

The government does provide healthcare to Americans under the poverty line. If a 4 person family has a household income of less than $26,500, they qualify for government assistance. They subside healthcare for impoverished families. This creates a poverty trap. Instead of perhaps taking a job that would be better paying, impoverished families remain stuck in their current situation because they won’t be able to afford healthcare.

Many small businesses also struggle to stay afloat, since providing health insurance for their employees is an expensive task and it plays a large role in how people choose jobs. Entrepreneurs that may be looking to start a business can not risk losing the insurance provided by their present employment.

Removing just the out-of-pocket costs from the calculation of the supplemental poverty would bring about 11.2 million Americans out of poverty.

Poor Quality of Care:

With such high costs for insurance, you would assume that the United States would have amazing care. However, America ranks a depressing last out of the 11 most developed countries in quality care. The US leaves 9% of its population uninsured, which is around 27.9 million people. Of these insured Americans, 68,000 die every year because they are forced to skip care. Nearly half of all US citizens say that they have avoided visiting a doctor when they are sick or injured due to the costs.

The cause of these problems is a private healthcare system, where insurance companies reign supreme over the market. The US is one of the only first-world countries that have no public option for their citizens.

A solution to this, primarily championed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is a free health care system. This means that everyone receives healthcare under a government program, and the payment is through taxes. Whenever you need medical treatment, you can get it without out-of-pocket payments or deductibles. Although it may result in longer wait times and less pay for doctors, the problems in the status quo are unparalleled.

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Ruben Noroian

Ruben is a high school student who is very involved in his school's activities. As the pandemic began, he had much more free time and began working on his writing. English Class essays were assignments he often struggled with in 2019. Now, puts in more effort and has better skills. As a result, he has begun writing for newspapers and blogs.