Yesterday night, there was a story in the New York Times about a man who killed his wife because he could no longer afford the medications which would allow her to lead a comfortable life. According to the article, he knows what he did was wrong, but couldn’t bear to see her suffer anymore. With healthcare costs rising because of a multitude of reasons, and find a plausible solution to the complicated issue of healthcare.
When I was growing up, I lived in a household where both my mom and dad had health insurance for me and my brother. Going to the doctor was not an expensive endeavor due to insurance, and my parents would always pay their bills. I know now how many Americans cannot afford to go to the doctor because they lack a similar insurance coverage. According to an article from PBS, 44 million people are uninsured, and 38 million more are underinsured. The problem with Obamacare is people who work in places which pay close to minimum wage and fail to give healthcare are still not benefitted. To add to that, people who are insured through their employers sometimes have to pay premiums which are greater than 10% of their annual income, a figure which qualifies them as underinsured. Moving to a single payer system as Bernie Sanders supports looks more and more like an effective solution since it allows many Americans the right to healthcare, but almost 60% of Americans have healthcare, which should by many metrics satisfy their needs. If we move to a single payer system, we will have those people also paying more for Healthcare which they tend not to use. Funny enough, we have almost the exact same problem with people going in to a completely privatized healthcare plan such as what Mr. Trump proposed.
With the old system we ran into a plethora of problems, but the primary one was people not willing to go to the hospital do to their inability to pay the hospital. The reason why healthcare expenses were so high came from the people who went to the hospital and didn’t pay. Every year hospitals write off on average 5% of their accounts as unrecoverable. If you think about that, it means for every 20 people who go to a hospital, one doesn’t pay. The hospital is a business, and even though they need to take care of the patients who walk through their doors, (IT IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY, THEY CAN NOT SAY NO TO A PATIENT HIPPOCRATIC OATH, LOOK IT UP.) they still need to keep their ledgers out of the red. To compensate, they take the one person who doesn’t pay, and they split their bill over the 19 people who actually will pay. These astronomical rates have led healthcare to be the #1 reason in America for a person to file for bankruptcy.
Funny how both of the extreme solutions lend to people losing money, but both of these solutions also cause hospitals to go through tough times. If we move to a single-payer system, the hospitals will get paid less for the service they provide, since the government is the only one who is paying. If we move to a fully private service, people will try to avoid hospitals due to the high costs incurred, causing more people to be in dangerous health situations. This leads to the grey zones, one of which is filled by Obamacare. Under Obamacare, the government subsidizes healthcare plans, allowing people to get a policy. One of the many reasons why Obamacare has failed, is even though the government is subsidizing the healthcare, the insurance policies they offer are still more than many Americans can pay. According to some pundits, if we maintain Obamacare, at least 100 million Americans will be either uninsured or underinsured by 2020. Furthermore, the policies provided by Obamacare create deductibles (How much you have to pay before an insurance company covers the rest of your healthcare expense for the term.) which people are not educated about, leading to them not paying doctors for services which they provide.
Two countries, which seem to have a working healthcare system are Canada and England. These are two popular examples when people argue for the single payer system, but their system is a little more complicated than the basic single payer system. They have government facilitated hospitals, where anyone can go free of a charge. For people who are willing to pay more for better coverage, they can go to private hospitals. With this system, people get the best coverage they can afford, and everyone is healthier. (I know what the media says, but both the English and Canadian populace have shown their satisfaction with the healthcare which was provided to them.) Maybe this won’t work in America, maybe it will. More importantly, it is progress, which is something our healthcare system direly needs.