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4 Drawbacks of the USA Healthcare System

Have you ever wondered why the United States healthcare system is one of the most expensive? Find your answers on this article.


1. Access

In most countries, healthcare systems are considered non-profit organisations like education, but not in the US. US healthcare insurance is expensive and not affordable to all, including what might be described as lower cost health insurance policies. Because of this high cost and the lack of a universal healthcare system, a person’s social class will determine the level of healthcare that they have access to. That is why outside of US residents, visitor travel insurance is much costlier than the rest of the world, with the US often excluded from many policies or included at a significantly higher cost.


So why does the US not have a universal healthcare system?

The government does pay towards healthcare for many; those who are elderly, ex-military, government workers and some chronic illnesses. This makes up approx. 37% of the population, leaving 63% of US citizens with no free healthcare, therefore needing to take out health insurance. Many health care systems across Europe and Canada were created post World War 2 after volunteer hospitals were set up and where people came together to look after the injured and sick, showing that everyone deserved a good and healthy life.

However, the US emerged from WW2 better than when it had begun with a different view on this topic. There are also a lot of people making a lot of money from the current system; hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies. For the government to be able to afford a universal system it would need to cut costs across the board, which could be near impossible. Another reason is that there is no one true Labour party which solely looks out for the working class and their needs.


2. Affordability

With the lack of a universal healthcare system, like the NHS in the UK, if you are uninsured for healthcare as a US citizen, the cost will not be covered for treatment, at all. Should you opt for treatment outside of insurance, you are looking at astronomical fees which few can afford. The cost of US Healthcare cover also increases income inequality. Poorer people spend much more of their income on health insurance than the rich. Those on the lowest incomes may not be able to afford health insurance at all, meaning they will not have access to treatment they may need.


3. Medical Costs

The cost of the United States healthcare system is considerably higher that of any other developed country. The US healthcare system’s administration costs are its biggest expense, making up a quarter of its costs alone. Then we have the salaries of the doctors and surgeons which are, in comparison, higher than much of the rest of the world (except in the Netherlands). The cost of drugs is also to blame. When congress created Medicare Part D, Medicare was denied the ability to be able to negotiate drug prices, something which could save billions per year.


4. Health Outcomes

You might think that a high healthcare cost for consumers comes with better overall health results and statistics. However, this is not always true, even though the US spends more per capita than other country on healthcare, it ranks lower on outcomes for measurements such as life expectancy and mortality for other chronic conditions than other countries providing universal healthcare. This is proving that sometimes users are not getting more for their money when paying a great deal for the service. 


This all said, the US as a country has 16 of the top 30 most technologically advanced hospitals in the world, providing pioneering treatment, new research and early diagnosis for many illnesses and diseases.