By reforming existing laws and enacting new policies – to minimize inefficiency, enhance the consumer experience, better leverage innovations, lower administrative costs and eliminate the need for reliance on harmful health care taxes, which only make health care more unaffordable – the following solutions will make
How could the US make healthcare more affordable?
The quality and cost of healthcare in the United States is perpetually a pressing challenge. The country’s health care cost is projected to continue to rise in the next few years. In addition to that, the varying medical services costs in the US also remains as a foregoing problem.
Monopolistic pricing of big hospitals has been one of the top reasons why healthcare in America is awfully expensive. Also, many people have the misconception that only popular private hospitals can deliver better service quality. Because of this, they believe that the private hospitals are worth the steep medical costs.
According to an article from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the USA has spent an average of $11,110 per individual on healthcare in 2019 alone. On the other hand, well-developed countries that are members of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) spend an average of only $5,500 per individual.
This comparison heavily insinuates that the amount of resources the US spends on healthcare is disproportionate. Given that the healthcare cost in the United States is outrageously expensive, here are some of the most practical ideas to make it more affordable.1. Reduce administrative costs on healthcare facilities.
Admin costs imposed by hospitals and clinics are cited as one of the main contributors to excessive healthcare expenses. Healthcare facilities in the USA have multiple systems that without doubt lead to more waste. Hospitals and clinics should be mandated to cut back admin costs for their services.
This will not only help to reduce patients’ total medical bills, but it will also allow them to allocate those excess costs to medicines and other after-care expenses.2. Promote virtual healthcare. Healthcare providers and patients must take advantage of today’s innovative technology. Although some medical professionals have been using telemedicine with their patients already, it is still not as widely used in the United States.
Virtual checkups are relatively cheaper than walk-in consultations. Additionally, it is also more convenient for patients living in remote places or those who do not have the time to visit their physician’s clinic. According to the American Telemedicine Association, health insurance companies such as Medicaid and Medicare also cover telehealth services for all policy holders.3.
- Get rid of unnecessary lab tests for patients.
- Laboratory tests offered by healthcare facilities in the US are not cheap.
- A common reason why patients’ total medical bills are expensive is due to multiple lab tests required by healthcare providers.
- Additionally, many patients go through numerous lab tests which are unnecessary.
As a solution, doctors must not require their patients to get unnecessary tests during checkups or admission. Instead, they must require patients to get the tests if they are necessary for their clinical evaluation.4. Regulate the prices of drugs and allow Medicare to negotiate prices.
- One of the biggest challenges in the American healthcare sector is the rising costs of drugs.
- Expensive drugs are the biggest reason for overspending in America.
- Unlike in America, medicine prices in Europe are regulated by the government based on medication and clinical benefit.
- Medicare, an insurer that pays a huge chunk of the USA’s drug costs, should also be allowed to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers.
This will help to reduce the cost of drugs.5. People should be allowed to buy health insurance from any company. All American citizens should be allowed to shop around for health insurance providers. Doing this will create a more competitive environment among insurance companies across the US.
- As a result, insurance premiums will become cheaper and insurers will offer more added benefits to their policies.6.
- Require clinics and hospitals to post prices for all services they offer.
- As mentioned earlier, the wide variation of care costs in the US has been a great factor in the country’s expensive healthcare.
By posting the prices for their care services, healthcare will become more accessible in the United States. Transparency on care services pricing is essential as it compels healthcare providers to be more reasonable with their prices.7. Encourage personal responsibility and a healthier lifestyle for all individuals.
- To cut back on the country’s upscale spending on healthcare, citizens should be encouraged to lead a healthier lifestyle.
- If individuals in the US become healthier, it will result in the reduction of preventable diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, and hypertension.
- This can be done by encouraging people to change their eating habits, quit smoking, and become more active.
How Expensive Healthcare in The US Affects the Citizens The cost of healthcare in America mainly affects people with insufficient funds for care services. Below are some of the common negative effects of the country’s upscale care cost.
Less Salary and Wage Increase : Companies that provide health insurance for their employees will have fewer abilities to impose salary and wage increases for their manpower. As they bear a higher cost for health insurance, their budget will not be sufficient to support compensation hikes. Increase in the Population of Uninsured Individuals : The ever-increasing healthcare cost of America could lead to an increase of citizens with no health insurance. This probability could affect majority of the people who are poor. Rise in Taxes and Fees : Property taxes, in specific, has the ability to cover for the healthcare expenses of the US. However, this can have adverse effects on property-owners across the country. Lower Care-Quality for the Elderly : Family members may struggle to pay for the healthcare expenses of their loved ones who are elderly or disabled. Nursing homes can also become expensive; thus, they are forced to provide care for them at home without any professional assistance. Lower Care Quality Overall : As nurses and staff are being reduced in healthcare facilities in the US, the quality of healthcare overall can be reduced. The lack of nursing staff could also result in physicians spending less time with their patients. As a result, the rates of medical misdiagnosis is likely to rise. Conclusion: Although there is a huge doubt that the healthcare cost in the US will become more affordable anytime soon, these ideas and suggestions can result to great changes. This way, the quality of care in the country will be not only quality but also very affordable.
When did healthcare become unaffordable in the US?
Key Takeaways –
- Health care costs began rapidly rising in the 1960s as more Americans became insured and the demand for health care services surged.
- Health care costs have also increased due to preventable diseases, including complications related to nutrition or weight issues.
- Recent government attempts to stem the growth in health care costs include the Affordable Care Act and Inflation Reduction Act.
Why do Americans have to pay for health insurance?
There is no universal healthcare. The U.S. government does not provide health benefits to citizens or visitors. Any time you get medical care, someone has to pay for it. Healthcare is very expensive. According to a U.S. government website, if you break your leg, you could end up with a bill for $7,500. If you need to stay in the hospital for three days, it would probably cost about $30,000. Most people in the U.S. have health insurance. Health insurance protects you from owing a lot of money to doctors or hospitals if you get sick or hurt. To get health insurance, you need to make regular payments (called “premiums”) to a health insurance company. In exchange, the company agrees to pay some, or all, of your medical bills. Learn more about health insurance. You will get most of your care from your “primary care provider” (PCP). After you buy health insurance, you can choose a PCP who is part of your insurance company’s network. If you buy an MIT health insurance plan, you will choose a PCP at MIT Medical, Your new PCP could be a nurse practitioner or a physician. You will see your PCP when you need a physical exam or lab test, when you are sick, or if you need care for an ongoing condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Learn more about PCPs. You will usually need an appointment to get medical care. If you want to see your PCP, you will need to call your PCP’s office to make an appointment. When you call, you need to explain why you need the appointment. If you are sick or hurt, you will get an appointment very soon. If you just need a routine physical exam, you might have to wait several weeks or even a month. Learn more about appointments.
NOTE: If you have a medical emergency or urgent need, you can get care immediately. Read more.
Is healthcare better in the US?
Does this Higher Spending Lead to Better Outcomes? – Higher healthcare spending can be beneficial if it results in better health outcomes. However, despite higher healthcare spending, America’s health outcomes are not any better than those in other developed countries. TWEET THIS A healthcare system with high costs and poor outcomes undermines our economy and threatens our long-term fiscal and economic well-being. Fortunately, there are opportunities to transform our healthcare system into one that produces higher quality care at a lower cost.
Which country has the best healthcare in the world?
Countries Ranked by Healthcare
|Care System Score
Why does the UK spend so much less on healthcare than the US?
The claim: The NHS costs half as much as the US health system, and cares for the whole population. Reality Check verdict: If you look at every penny spent on health by anyone in the country, then the UK spends about half as much on health as the US does.
- But if you compare the amount spent on the NHS with the amount spent by the US government on public healthcare, the difference is much smaller.
- US President Donald Trump has caused a stir by tweeting his criticisms of the UK’s universal healthcare, describing it as a system that is “going broke and not working”,
NHS England boss Simon Stevens responded that “healthcare for everybody delivered at half the cost of the US healthcare system is something that people in this country are deeply and rightly committed to”. In the UK, healthcare is universal, while in the States there are 28 million people who are not covered by public or private insurance.
- But does the NHS really cost half as much? If you look at all healthcare spending, including treatment funded privately by individuals, the US spent 17.2% of its GDP on healthcare in 2016, compared with 9.7% in the UK.
- In pounds per head, that’s £2,892 on healthcare for every person in the UK and £7,617 per person in the US.
So as a proportion of the value of the goods and services produced by all sectors of the economy the UK spends a bit more than half what the US spends, and in spending per head it’s a bit less than half. The difficulty is, when it comes to comparing healthcare in different countries, you’re never exactly comparing like for like.
Almost all health systems are a mixture of public and private – it’s the ratio that varies. In the UK, the public health system can be accessed by all permanent residents, is mostly free at the point of use and is almost entirely paid for through taxation. Americans are far more likely to rely on private insurance to fund their healthcare since accessing public healthcare is dependent on your income.
Many European countries, meanwhile, have a social insurance system where insurance contributions are mandatory. This doesn’t fall under general taxation but is not dissimilar from paying National Insurance in the UK and means everyone can access healthcare.
Almost half of US health spending still comes from public money including general taxation – although it’s the only country in the G7 to pay publicly for less than 50% of all healthcare that’s provided. What this doesn’t tell you, though, is how effective a healthcare system is, and this seems to be what Mr Stevens was getting at.