American healthcare calls for major reform

By Tommy Cairns ‘18

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Health care in the United States is very controversial and a great social welfare concern. According to the website Government Research Data America spends over $19.8 billion dollars a year on health services. The latest world news ranking from U.S. News has the United States ranked at 37th out of 40 industrialized countries in overall health care quality. Health care is a political hot topic and has been debated since President Bill Clinton’s first term in office. No government official has been able to pinpoint why health care cost are so high and why it cannot be made more accessible.Sadly, 30 million people in this country do not have health insurance. Health insurance costs so much because research and modern technology systems costs tremendous amounts of money. Within an insurance program is a premium, which is a monthly charge to cover the cost of your health care services. According to average monthly premium center, the average American family pays an insurance premium of $1,081 dollars per month, totaling to over $12, 000 dollars per year. Until Obamacare was enacted, most Americans who had health care coverage were insured through their employers. The advantage to this is a group rate, which keeps the premiums cost lower. However, the disadvantage is when you lose your job, you lose your healthcare.Medical malpractice is defined as unintentional neglect resulting in harm to a patient that could lead to serious injury or death. Part of the reason doctors charge such high rates is to pay their medical malpractice insurance. According to National Public Radio, 440,000 thousand Americans die every year from medical negligence. An example of medical malpractice is a 1995 incident where Doctor Rolando R. Sanchez amputated the wrong leg of a patient, and the patient died. Malpractice can range from the smallest errors to life threating situations.Small wounds or cuts should only cost a couple hundred dollars to treat, but can and do add up to several thousands. Hospitals will sometimes charge excessive fees for the most basic procedures. Doctors and hospitals bill separately, so there is an unorganized paying process. For example, if you break your wrist, your total bill will be over $2,533 dollars according to Cost Helper Charges range from $30 dollars for a glass of orange juice to ten dollars for a band aid. According to Health care Research and Quality the average one week hospital stay is $10,000 dollars.Without health insurance, a person does not have a primary care doctor. By default the local hospital emergency room becomes the primary care provider. Immunizations, well visits, and necessary screenings are delayed or never completed. Primary care is the biggest problem with children as one million American children nationwide do not have any form of primary care according to U.S. News and Report.Aside from the other pressing issues within America’s health care system, there is one small problem that sparks other issues: Americans just simply cannot afford it. According to Medical Expenditure Survey, the average copay is $24. But you also have to pay for sick visits, hospital stays, and annual physicals. Just one hospital stay can cause you to pay a significant amount of money.Health insurance costs are hardest on those over age 65 as statistically that is when health starts to fail, and many services are needed. For example, you are in your middle to late sixties, and you have heart disease, which according to Everyday Health is the leading cause of death for those over the age of 65. Diseases such as heart disease require tremendous amounts of treatment. According to CBS News, just one treatment for it can cost you $760,000.Health care costs are expensive and continue to rise higher than the inflation rate. Some possible recommendations to improve America’s health care system have been brought forth by Fox News. One solution is to permit health insurance to be sold nationally instead of statewide. For example, a 25-year-old single male living in New Jersey could get affordable health care through a state like Kentucky. Secondly, we should encourage health care spending accounts where money is deducted from paychecks before taxes. The health care account will get the money first. Lastly, the primary concern is to cap hospital charges and doctors’ charges, so we have a set price for every procedure. In an ideal world, every American would have affordable effectively managed health care; however, it is just not that simple. Health care is a right to all citizens of the United States, as it promotes the general welfare and well-being of every single person.

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