Health care and health insurance, although afforded by most, is still not universal. The current system can work, but is expensive and inefficient, costing billions of dollars more than its European counterparts. It will prove itself unsustainable for the nation without more insurance and a more efficient health care system.
In 2007, 45.7 million people — 15.3 percent of the nation — were uninsured. Even more are inadequately insured. Many of these people cannot pay for insurance or a hospital stay. Medicaid and Medicare don’t cover them. Many of them will need to be hospitalized, but neither they nor the government will pay for their care. This responsibility falls onto those who can pay — including the hospital and the insured.
Recently passed legislation is making health insurance mandatory. Although this will lower insurance prices, not everyone can afford it. To solve this, Medicaid has been authorized to pay, at least partially, for upper-low-income families. This will further decrease the costs for insurance now that everyone will have coverage.
When I was younger, I was diagnosed with a condition that required an extensive and expensive surgical procedure. My family’s insurance provider paid for the entire $76,600 bill except for $10 co-pays associated with medications and doctor visits.
If my family’s insurance had been inadequate or nonexistent, you could have paid for my procedure. Whether through your insurance premiums, co-pays or hospital bills, some of my debt could have been passed to you. Also, since the poor and uninsured must be hospitalized, my surgery potentially cost thousands more than it should have.
My surgery demonstrated the health care system is becoming extremely expensive. The United States spends the most money per person for health care in the world. Also, it has the second-highest percentage of income spent on health care. Yet despite its high prices, health care in the United States is not the best quality health care in the world. European nations spend money much more efficiently, and everyone has more comprehensive and better coverage.
The United States’ health care system is also inefficient. Many hospitals still use paper records, which slow the transferring of patients.
Name-brand medications are still recommended, despite being more expensive. Many cheaper brands can be just as effective and safer. Doctors visits are higher than they need to be. The American health care system has much to still reform, and should be able to function with less, making insurance premiums cheaper.
The recently passed health care legislation has helped. All United States citizens will need to be covered by health care by law. Also, governmental insurers will be expanded to insure more people. And preexisting conditions can no longer be used to reject consumers for insurance.
However, none of these provisions will be enacted for several years. When they do take effect, they will help relieve some issues within the health care system but will not address all the existing problems. These pieces of legislation are stepping stones for more comprehensive laws in the future.
With more people insured, productivity will increase. All injuries and sicknesses will be treated without the trouble of payment and people will be back on the job sooner. With less down time, national services, such as health care, can be afforded.
Workers will also have more pocket money to spend, stimulating the economy. Even money invested in banks helps recovery.
With the economy in a recession and the unemployment rate high, ensuring people have insurance is extremely important. It puts less strain on the budgets of hospitals and the insured. It is the best compromise: insure everybody and make health care more efficient, while aiding economic recovery.