In 32 million people without health insurance

In the past several years, but especially the last year, a
problem area in the American political society or government is the
availability and affordability of healthcare. “According to ABC
News 54 percent of Americans worry
about having and affording healthcare.” (Top 15) Healthcare in America exceeds
the price of any other rich country and not everyone has it. The price of
healthcare is outrageous, not everyone can afford it, the cons of healthcare in
the United States out-way the pros, and even if you have healthcare you still
end up spending a lot of out of pocket money that some people may not have. “In 2016, the average American spent $4,571 on their health – a figure
five times higher than the average out-of-pocket spending of other countries in
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (Broken)”

If you look at the United States
healthcare system and compare it to 10 other wealthy countries in the world the
United States comes in last place. Americans spend the most out of pocket money
and still do not have the best healthcare. Americans
aren’t living any longer, either. “The United States and United Kingdom had
much higher death rates in 2007 from conditions amenable to medical care than
some of the other countries, e.g., rates 25 percent to 50 percent higher than
Australia and Sweden. Overall, France, Sweden, and Switzerland rank highest on
healthy lives,” (Health Care Ranks Poorly)

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Healthcare in the United States has ultimately become a
human rights crisis. There are 32 million people without health insurance in
the United States partly because of unemployment and partly because of
affordability. “This crisis persists despite available resources to protect the
right to health, record levels of health care spending and repeated health
reform efforts. Since social determinants, such as race, income and environment,
strongly influence who becomes ill and who receives access to quality care, the
health care crisis disproportionately affects disadvantaged groups and
under-resourced communities, such as people living in poverty, people of color,
and immigrants” (Movements for Human Rights) Also, another contributing factor
that affects the availability of healthcare is the cost.

Although the government as regulated
what employers can charge an individual for health coverage the government has
not regulated what providers can charge for services. For example, a doctor in
Indianapolis, IN
could charge $500
for a visit but a doctor in Columbus, IN could charge $250 for a visit for the exact same
type of visit. Some people may not know that doctor’s offices can charge different amounts for the same type of
services. Most individuals are not educated enough on health insurance to know
the difference. Also, someone with low income may not be able to pay their out
of pocket portion of the bill. Which is why a lot of low income people or
people who don’t
have high quality insurance tend to go to the Emergency Room because they know
they cannot be turned away. The negative side to this is some people will never
pay their medical bill from their Emergency Room visit.

Of the individuals that may fall in
the categories mentioned above many may not seek the healthcare they need
because of high deductibles and out of pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-pays.  This means that nearly one-third of Americans struggle
with finding healthcare that they need or wait to get care for fear that they
will have medical bills and will not be able to pay them. “When an uninsured or
inadequately insured person is in crisis and cannot pay, the burden falls on
the insured population, healthcare providers, and the government.” (Public
Broadcasting Service)  These billions of
dollars of unpaid health care bring up the cost of insurance for everyone.

How does the
uninsured effect the insured?   Many
individuals who have health insurance may not think about the individuals that
do not have health insurance.  Most
likely they do not even think that they would affect them.  This may not be true.  According to a new study funded by the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation, when there are high uninsurance rates in a community,
there are adverse effects for those who are insured. The study, authored by
researchers from the RAND Corporation and UCLA found that high rates of
uninsurance affect those with insurance in the following ways:

Insured people in communities with high
rates of uninsurance are less likely to have a regular source of care;

Insured people in communities with high
rates of uninsurance are more likely to report delaying or forgoing care; and

Insured people in communities with high rates
of uninsurance are more likely to report being less satisfied with the care
they receive

So, what’s the takeaway? Researchers found that it’s not just
those without insurance who suffer the ill effects of going without health
coverage, but those who do have coverage and live in areas with high rates of
uninsurance suffer, as well.

This brings to
light another issue Americans may face and not know and that is the shortage of
medical professionals. Many areas of the United States are already seeing a shortage
in Primary Care Physicians.  This is
expected to be worse in the next 10-15 years. 
Rural areas of the United States may already be feeling the tightness in
finding a medical professional in their area. 
The requirements that the Government puts on individuals who are
becoming Physicians maybe delaying their licenses or making it hard for them to
practice.  With this shortage many
insured and uninsured may not seek the medical care they need.  Many in rural areas would have to travel to
get their care they need, another burden that some individuals may be affected

Although there will always be problems
with healthcare the solution to the problems will all be different based on
people opinions and what they want. “Prevention and
health education don’t drain the national treasury but provide a strong return on the dollar. For every
person who understands how to avoid heart disease, hypertension, and obesity,
learns about effective contraception, or who gets health education on the
dangers of tobacco and alcohol, the medical system benefits economically, not
to mention the gains by humanity.” (Hidden Solution) Some people believe the best way to
help the healthcare crisis would be achieving better health. Some ways to achieve
that is by providing preventative care such as mammograms, immunizations, colonoscopy’s,
prostate screenings, blood pressure, diabetes, and many more.

Another way to help the healthcare
crisis is opening the network of providers to those who need healthcare. For
example, New York,
has some of the nation’s tightest restrictions on non-physician medical
professionals. But there is no evidence that these rules make New Yorkers safer
or healthier. On the other hand, it does make health care more expensive. (5
Ways to Solve Healthcare) It is time to ease those regulations to permit more
competition and choice. This would give people more options on what kind
of doctors they could see. For example, earlier I talked about the shortage of
doctors. This would open things up, so people could see nurse practitioners
instead of the doctors, chiropractors, midwives, and other non-physician
medical professionals. This could also reduce the costs of visits and would
help people get into the doctor quicker when need be.