The fact that there is a problem with healthcare in the U.S. is obvious. We know it and probably most of us have experienced this on our own example (receiving a bill with $5.000 for a few stitches can be quite shocking). Unfortunately, nobody seems to have an idea how it can be repaired. First of all, it would be reasonable to have the awareness of what exactly wrong with our healthcare system is. Therefore, we point out some reasons of the disaster to draw a clear picture of the problem.
- The insured pay for the uninsured. The Affordable Care Act was aimed at helping people who cannot afford health insurance – somewhat unpredictable in costs hence unaffordable for many. Is this a fair solution? Some people pay more so that the others could receive treatment. It is inhuman to refuse somebody in need a necessary help – so be it, but it still costs and often quite a lot. Someone just must pay for it. Immigrants are also prone to many diseases and accidents happen to everyone – yet should we refuse to help in such cases? Of course not, in fact such treatment is totally legal in our country.
- Has anyone checked whether the certain medical help was really effective in the long run? Surgeries take place and later nobody cares how it actually continues in the long term. The effectiveness of treatment is not tracked so how can we be sure it really helped? Also medical errors are not tracked while these can be even the third largest causes of deaths in the U.S. It definitely would be a good idea to start checking the quality of the treatment from the patient’s point of view and keeping records seriously.
- Long queues are a result of an insufficient number of doctors. Waiting time to receive medical help is much longer than it should be. The number of new doctors is systematically decreasing. It has already become a serious problem in rural areas. The doctors we already have are just old which does not improve the situation. But why is this shortage of young doctors happening to us? Our federal law does not allow to train the sufficient number of them in hospitals. Everything because there is no more money for such purposes – there are different ones. In fact, there is yet another dark aspect of the situation – the long queues cost us all even more when we look from the perspective of lost hours spent in the waiting room instead of being at work.
- There is no control of drug prices. Drug industry has a habit of buying competitors to get rid of competition. It is dangerous because competition is needed for regulating and keeping reasonable prices. No competition? Prices can freely glide up and up accordingly to the company’s wish. There is probably no need to explain the effect it has on the patients.
- A small paper cup worth two cents costs $12 in your nurse’s hand. Everything you can find at a hospital miraculously gains so, so much value! That is not fair that we all must pay more for treatment because hospitals are just businesses and they extremely care about their financial condition. Hospitals know that most of us cannot afford lots of things, but there is a problem of consolidation which eliminates competition and we do not really have much more options. Besides, the prices cannot be lowered just in case there comes an extraordinarily wealthy patient who will cover no matter how high the cost and will “endow” the hospital’s funds.
It is high time we repaired the sick healthcare system in our country. Unless we like travelling and we do not have a problem with going abroad to receive the right affordable treatment. Let’s not lose hope that the situation finally changes for better and “healthcare travelling” does not have to become our hobby.