Is Healthcare Working?

While discussing the healthcare system in the United States the debate of a free open market system should be the way in which Americans handle paying for the cost of medical bills has been hotly debated over time. Over the time of this course, we have discussed different models of healthcare and argued their effectiveness in the countries that use them. We also have discussed if the United States has the ability or willingness to change its system that resembles other western nations’ more socialized systems. I have been dismayed by the revelations on how our government chooses to treat its citizens in terms of healthcare treatment. 

Every year the U.S charges exorbitant costs for life-saving healthcare which in some cases leads to the individual becoming completely bankrupt. For our class assignment, we watched a documentary named Sicko by Michael Moore which exposed the many faults in our healthcare system and the sheer unfairness of the way the American healthcare system leaves so many people at the mercy of their poor health conditions. The film made me realize that insurance companies will reject people with preexisting conditions from getting critical health insurance because they were deemed too expensive to insure, making it impossible for these types of people to get the help they needed at an affordable rate. 

The film also brought up that most health insurance is brought to you by your employer and without gainful employment that the chances a person would find affordable health insurance are slim. This brings the issue that those who cannot find work cannot have access to health insurance. It also brings up the conundrum of people who become too sick to work making getting affordable insurance impossible.  After watching the film and studying how other developed nations give out a more equitable and affordable socialized healthcare system, I saw what we were doing in our country was not the way to do healthcare as we were leaving too many people unprotected from the inevitable chance that you will one day get sick. That being said that movie came out before the affordable care act became law. 

Thanks to that law there have been many reforms to the healthcare industry making it more affordable the current state of affairs in healthcare could be due to the fact that the leadership of the country wants our health care system to operate like a free market where prices are set by competing economic forces. Some argue that this is where the U.S gets its scientific innovation that allows for breakthrough medical technologies to happen. Some question if there is not a free market then medical breakthroughs won’t happen at the same pace.

 A Trump Whitehouse report from the government claims that market-centric forces along pro-consumer policies will change the way free-market healthcare works saying, “The Administration’s focus on consumer-centric health policies will make the healthcare marketplace more competitive and protect as well as enable consumers to obtain life-enhancing technologies. For example, the Administration’s recent policy change to permit insurers to offer policies with additional benefits covered before a deductible is met and allow enrollees to maintain health savings accounts are real changes already helping those with preexisting conditions. And with future changes underway to enable patients to use the real price for major medical services, the effect of the free market to lower health care costs for all consumers has just begun. “With that being said this means that it will still take government intervention for the policies to take effect that will address the problems with healthcare. 

Alex Tolbert from the newspaper the Tennessean makes an interesting point about the distribution of healthcare, “Buying health care isn’t like buying other goods or services, because health care is highly regulated, and consumers are often not the ones paying for their care. Rather, third-party payers like the government or insurance companies operate as “central planners” and have a lot of say over what care occurs, where it happens, and what is paid for.” This means to me the idea of having a free market is currently impossible because the individual person is not paying for the care the government or health insurance companies are setting the price for these things and the consumer does not have much say on the cost of the product. If the individual doesn’t have a say on the cost of the product it is hard to make the case that our healthcare market operates under the principles of a free-market system.

I personally believe in the power and effectiveness of socialized single-payer systems when it comes to delivering health insurance. Throughout the class, we have seen many nations that pay for the services for their citizens’ health insurance. While this would mean that citizens get charged hire tax services there would be more stable markets in the healthcare exchange.  California health care for all lobbying webpages made the case for more stable markets in their list of reasons for a single care system saying, “Costs are rising at rates far beyond inflation. Charges for health insurance premiums and care vary dramatically and are difficult to justify. Reimbursement for services and supplies is unpredictable. People who cannot afford regular care misuse expensive hospital emergency rooms when problems arise and require more expensive treatment when conditions worsen. In a single-payer system, the single-payer agency negotiates fair prices for services, supplies, and pharmaceuticals, using the purchasing power of the entire populace to make care more affordable for all.”

I have learned a lot about healthcare this quarter and I believe it to be of paramount importance that we continue the discussion of healthcare in the United States, as it will be a critical topic of American Life over the coming decades.

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