Published December 2023
The American Healthcare System: A Problem in Need of Solutions
By Dave Jakielo
The United States spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, yet it has some of the worst health outcomes. This is due in part to a number of problems with the American healthcare
- High costs - The cost of healthcare in the United States is astronomical. In 2022, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average American family spent $22,463 on healthcare. This includes premiums, copays, and out-of-pocket expenses. The high cost of healthcare is a major barrier to access, and it can lead to financial hardship or bankruptcy for many families.
- Inequality in access - Not everyone in the United States has access to quality healthcare. Millions of Americans are uninsured or underinsured, and they may not be able to afford the care they need. This is especially true for people of color, people with disabilities, and people who live in rural areas. According to the National Rural Health Association, one third of rural hospitals in the United States are at risk of closing.
- A fragmented system - The American healthcare system is fragmented, with multiple payers, providers, and regulators. This makes it difficult to coordinate care, and it can lead to errors and delays.
- A lack of transparency - It can be difficult to know what healthcare services will cost, and this can make it difficult to make informed decisions about care. Or lead to people delaying care until they face
a medical emergency.
- A focus on profits - The American healthcare system is driven by profits, and this can lead to decisions that are not in the best interests of patients. For example, hospitals may be more likely to perform unnecessary procedures if they are more profitable.
These are just some of the problems with the American healthcare system. These problems have a significant impact on the health and well-being of Americans, and they need to be addressed.
There are a number of potential solutions to the problems with the American healthcare system. Some of these solutions include:
- Universal healthcare - Universal healthcare would guarantee that everyone in the United States has access to quality healthcare, regardless of their income or employment status.
- Medicare for All - Medicare for All is a single-payer healthcare system that would replace private health insurance with a government-run plan. This would eliminate the profit motive from the healthcare system and make it more affordable for everyone. Only 43 other countries successfully offer universal healthcare systems for at least 90 percent of their populations.
- Healthcare reform - Healthcare reform could address some of the problems with the current system, such as high costs and lack of access. This could include measures such as expanding Medicaid, regulating the pharmaceutical industry, and making healthcare more transparent.
The problems with the American healthcare system are complex, but there are a number of potential solutions. It is important to continue to discuss and debate these solutions so that we can find a way to improve the healthcare system for all Americans.
In addition to the problems mentioned above, the American healthcare system also faces a number of other challenges, such as:
- An aging population - The United States is facing an aging population, and this is putting a strain on the healthcare system. Over 25 percent of the United States' total population is eligible for Medicare. Older adults are more likely to have chronic health conditions, and they require more costly care.
- The rise of chronic diseases - Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, are on the rise in the United States. These diseases are costly to treat, and they can lead to disability and death.
- The shortage of healthcare providers - There is a shortage of healthcare providers in the United States, particularly in rural areas. This shortage makes it difficult for people to get the care they need, especially if they live in rural areas.
These challenges are only going to get worse in the coming years. It is important to start addressing these challenges now so we can ensure that the American healthcare system is sustainable in the long term.
The future of the American healthcare system is uncertain. However, if we are able to address the problems that the system faces, we can create a system that is affordable, accessible, and equitable for all Americans.
Dave Jakielo is an International Speaker, Consultant, Executive Coach, and Author, and is president of Seminars & Consulting. Dave is past president of Healthcare Business and Management Association and the National Speakers Association Pittsburgh Chapter. Sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at www.Davespeaks.com. Dave can be reached via email Dave@Davespeaks.com; phone 412-921-0976.