Americans tend to struggle with the idea that, quite frankly, we aren‘t the best at everything. Healthcare is definitely one of those categories where we lag behind other nations. To some extent, the medical community must share in the blame, but I think a larger portion falls onto others, both on our government and on our society itself. We live in a land where the only healthcare that is guaranteed is that which is found in a hospital, and where the costs of healthcare can cripple a person, even if their disease doesn’t.
One fundamental rule of our healthcare system is that lifesaving treatment must be provided, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay, Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it is free. That ambulance ride to the hospital will run roughly $1,000; with the price increasing significantly depending on what type of care is needed during transport. The Emergency Room visit? That‘s hundreds, possibly thousands, more And then there is the bill for more advanced care such as surgery or an ICU stay.
While a medical emergency in this country can financially cripple someone for years, if not life, that is not the case elsewhere In other places, the belief is that the entirety of society benefits from the individuals being in good health. While that doesn’t mean free healthcare, necessarily, it does mean that the $20 in IV supplies don’t cost the patient $500, or more A$4 vial of medication doesn’t cost $100. Medicine is not necessarily a business, but a necessary public service.
Due to this, we see medical insurance as a necessity. Personally, I pay $70 each month for it and I haven’t had anything other than a routine appointment in over a year. That cost can rise dramatically for those who do not have insurance offered through their employer, or for those with a family. The costs of this insurance, and the costs of medical care can lead people to go a different route to receive care.
An Emergency Room in the US has an obligation to treat all those who come to them, this means that they have to treat both the stroke that comes in, as well as the sore throat. While it may seem ridiculous, people do come to the ER for a sore throat, on a shockingly regular basis. It is a gross misuse of resources, and it can pull care away from those who need it more. However, this is not a problem that can squarely be blamed on those going to the ER with a problem most of use would go to a clinic for. After all, your clinic doesn’t have to treat you if you are unable to pay, the ER does, for those without insurance, and who can’t afford to pay for care, this may be the only way they can receive care. Society has chosen to not extend universal healthcare to the American people, and this is the result, Emergency Rooms are overwhelmed with non-critical patients that come in for basic medical needs, from sore throats to pregnancy tests.
What makes matters worse, is that a shocking number of these people come in by ambulance, because again, they cannot refuse service I have transported many of these people, who have call 911 for minor medical problems, while people with serious issues sometimes had to wait because all the ambulances were currently busy. Our system is broken, and the Affordable Care Act is not enough to fix it, I would say that the only true solution is universal healthcare. When all are guaranteed care, the costs are less of a concern, Routine medical problems do not become life-threatening emergencies because patient waited too long to seek out care. When care is as expensive as it is in the US, the system is ripe for abuse, this abuse (or misuse) will not disappear with the introduction of universal healthcare, but it will decrease.
And people will not have to fear being bankrupted due to an accidental injury or unexpected illness, a world power such as ours should not have a population that is afraid to get sick because of the cost. In the US, healthcare is a luxury. The costs are so high that many cannot afford basic care at a clinic. Instead, this leads to overwhelmed ERs and 911 systems, taking away help from those who truly need it. We are at a crossroads, and change is needed a country that calls itself a superpower cannot be the same one that decries universal healthcare as evil and condemns is while people are bankrupted receiving medical care.