To what end does the American healthcare system fail its patients? The primary barrier to healthcare access in the United States is its high cost. With no national health coverage plans in place, healthcare expenses in the United States have skyrocketed in recent years, putting a significant financial burden on people. According to a 2021 article on health costs and financing, “most people in the lower income bracket don’t have access to medical care or insurance that can cover even the most fundamental medical expenses.” The primary reason the American healthcare system is broken is because of the high cost of accessing healthcare services. It is a huge problem and let down to the healthcare system because it means that most people cannot access quality healthcare services. On the other hand, those who can access healthcare quality services are forced to dig deeper into their pockets, which increases their financial burden.
In an article by Chernew and Mintz on administrative expenses in the United States healthcare system, they stated that “high costs for accessing healthcare have several effects on the general well-being of people.” The following are some of the reasons why high costs of care in the American healthcare system are a problem:
- According to a New York Times article by Sanger-Katz in 2021 on overall health spending in the United States, “half of all adults in the United States report financial hardship due to the high expense of medical treatment.” About 40% of adults in the United States report putting off or forgoing necessary medical treatment in the past year owing to financial constraints, with dental care being the most often delayed service.
- People often go without medical care or fail to fill prescriptions because of the high cost involved. One in four people reports that they or a family member have avoided filling a prescription reduced the number of pills taken or skipped dosages in the past year due to financial constraints. This percentage is higher among those from lower-income households.
- According to NHIS 2020 survey on healthcare among adults, “One in eleven respondents they had avoided or postponed medical care owing to financial constraints.” However, other survey results imply that the percentage of adults who avoid or postpone medical care owing to financial concerns is even more significant.
The high cost of care is a problem for most Americans, hence why the healthcare system is broken. Still, I propose several ways to address this problem and ensure that the American healthcare system gets better. All of us must have access to quality healthcare services at affordable costs, and that’s why the following propositions offer solutions for making healthcare more affordable. One solution is for our government to constantly negotiate and control the prices of drugs with manufacturers and dealers. When the price of drugs is high, patients cannot purchase all the prescriptions from the doctors, and therefore, by reducing these prices, many people would be able to buy drugs as prescribed by the doctors.
Secondly, high administrative costs account for the rise in healthcare costs. To address this issue, our government should lower administrative costs by automating parts of the claims-paying process, boosting pay or productivity, and cutting expenses. In a 2021 article by Scheinker et al., they stated that “a reduction in administrative costs will result in more affordable healthcare services.” Lastly, we should all get patient education to increase our awareness on how to improve our health in general. It is because, with the implementation of accountable care, in which each person accepts responsibility for their health, readmission rates can be drastically lowered through patient education.
If and when the problem of high-cost care in the American healthcare system is addressed using the proposed solutions, American healthcare will change and become better. Putting those solutions into effect would ensure that even those in the low-income bracket can access quality healthcare services at an affordable cost. The following are visual aids of how the general health of American people would look like if the problem of the high cost of care is addressed using my proposed solutions:
This first pie chart compares the average number of people who can and cannot afford healthcare costs in 2022 (Why are Americans paying more for healthcare? 2022).
This second pie chart shows a comparison of the average number of people who can afford and are unable to afford healthcare costs after the implementation of the solutions offered:
This second pie chart shows that the average number of people who could afford quality healthcare services would increase if the proposed solutions were implemented.
In conclusion, I call upon all of us to participate in any proposed solutions. For instance, everyone should purpose to get patient education as early as today. Also, we should all-purpose to sign the petitions to ensure our government lowers the administrative costs in healthcare and that they constantly negotiate with drug manufacturers and dealers to reduce the costs of drugs. If we do so, I believe we can make the American healthcare system great again. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me.
Caraballo, C., Massey, D., Mahajan, S., Lu, Y., Annapureddy, A. R., Roy, B., Riley, C., Murugiah, K., Valero-Elizondo, J., Onuma, O., Nunez-Smith, M., Forman, H. P., Nasir, K., Herrin, J., & Krumholz, H. M. (2020). Racial and ethnic disparities in access to health care among adults in the United States: A 20-year National Health Interview Survey Analysis, 1999–2018. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.30.20223420
Chernew, M., & Mintz, H. (2021). Administrative expenses in the US Health Care System. JAMA, 326(17), 1679. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.17318
Sanger-Katz, M. (2021, December 15). Overall health spending in the U.S. reached record levels in 2020. The New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/15/upshot/overall-health-spending-record-2020.html
Scheinker, D., Richman, B. D., Milstein, A., & Schulman, K. A. (2021). Reducing administrative costs in US health care: Assessing single payer and its alternatives. Health Services Research, 56(4), 615–625. https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-6773.13649
Shrank, W. H., DeParle, N.-A., Gottlieb, S., Jain, S. H., Orszag, P., Powers, B. W., & Wilensky, G. R. (2021). Health costs and financing: Challenges and strategies for a new administration. Health Affairs, 40(2), 235–242. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2020.01560
Why are Americans paying more for healthcare? Peter G. Peterson Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://www.pgpf.org/blog/2022/02/why-are-americans-paying-more-for-healthcare