Everyone has the right to healthcare, when you are ill and need certain treatments, this should be something that you have access to in your time of need. While this is something that the majority of people would agree on, the reality of healthcare in the United States is something quite different. With high costs for insurance and medical bills, there is a big percentage of the population who simply can’t afford the treatments they might need, even if it is something as simple as having their teeth cleaned at the dentist. So, what are the key issues with the United States healthcare system that people are most concerned about today?
As mentioned above, one of the biggest problems facing the healthcare system is the high costs associated with it. It operates as a ‘for profit’ industry, unlike a lot of other countries, and this is one of the main factors as to why healthcare costs are so high in the U.S. Most citizens have to use private health insurance companies to help them pay for their medical bills, and some might be lucky enough to have employers who contribute to their insurance costs. However, the issue with using insurance for healthcare is that insurers will offer certain plans, some of which will cost more than others. This can leave patients vulnerable if the treatment they require isn’t covered in their insurance plan and facing astronomical medical bills that could potentially leave them in a financial crisis. Some clinics offer things like affordable tooth implants, or health checks, etc., but this isn’t enough to change the ongoing issues of unaffordable healthcare in the U.S alone.
Shortages of Medical Staff
Another big issue within the healthcare industry is the shortage of healthcare professionals who are qualified to treat patients. There is no denying that working in healthcare, particularly in frontline roles, comes with a lot of pressure and stress. The last year alone has been a nightmare due to the pandemic, and there is now staff who are resigning over mandatory vaccination policies that they are uncomfortable with (which is a whole other issue up for debate). With burnout being a very real issue facing employees all over the world, it’s easy to see how people are choosing to either not go into the medical profession because of this issue or are leaving their roles after years of service.
Quality of Care
When you see a doctor, dentist, or any healthcare specialist, you want to be confident knowing that you’re going to get the best possible care available. After all, these people are the experts, and you need to be able to trust them with your health and even your life in certain circumstances. While it’s important to note that the majority of healthcare professionals are reliable in this way, there are some problems with the quality of care that patients face today. Medical errors aren’t uncommon, and it’s not surprising when you think of the issue of burn out as mentioned previously. Human error is something that everyone is capable of doing and will do more than once in their lifetime, but when it could result in negatively impacting someone’s health and well-being, it’s a more serious issue.
There is also a lack of transparency within the healthcare system that creates even more problems, such as making it difficult for patients to find a good doctor. A lot of people rely on online reviews for healthcare professionals, and while this might give you some indication of general customer service, it doesn’t provide you with the right details on the physician’s skill, or if they are going to be able to help with specific issues. Although some of these things might be put on a clinic’s website, ultimately, they will be trying to get new patients, so how reliable is this information truly?
Healthcare is an essential service that every country needs, and all people should be able to access it. These are just some examples of the issues facing the healthcare system in the United States today, and there is certainly room for improvement. There will always be an ongoing debate about how to best navigate these issues, but something does need to change if citizens are going to have better opportunities for affordable, quality care, as well as looking at how things can be made better for the healthcare professionals who are working both on the frontlines and in other sectors of this industry.
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Brett is the Managing Editor of this website. A former business executive turned teacher, activist, and writer, Brett also operates an anonymous Twitter account with a very large following.