It is no surprise that the world’s largest economy also has the world’s largest healthcare system. The United States spends trillions of dollars on healthcare every single year across public and private sectors, making its industry larger than most developed economies. The history of the U.S. health system tells a different story than that of many other countries, which has resulted in an outcome that is quite different than many others. Increasingly, more and more people point to a number of flaws and shortcomings in the US healthcare system that suggest it is failing a large percentage of the population. What is going on in US healthcare, and is the sector failing? We’ll discuss this below.
Severe Price Gouging Makes Access Difficult
First of all, let’s discuss the top-line statistics. Perhaps most importantly, the US spends more per capita on healthcare than any country in the world. Even when compared to other developed nations, the US spends 40 to 70 percent more on caring for its citizens. The primary difference between the US and other nations is the structure of its healthcare system; most developed nations have either single-payer healthcare or some other form of public healthcare competition. In the US, private companies largely control the healthcare decisions of everyday people and this creates complications. All of this leads to rapid growth in the sector; healthcare jobs in MSN administration and dozens of other fields are popping up due to the massive expenditures within this sector.
Loopholes, Exceptions and Lack of Oversight
For instance, many standard medical procedures may not be covered by health insurance in the US, forcing citizens to pay out of pocket for services at the same time that they’re paying for more insurance. Collusion between doctors and insurance companies have led to massive numbers of tests and procedures being conducted that are not necessary, further contributing to higher overall costs. A lack of true price constraints set forth by the federal government allows insurers, hospitals and doctors to further increase costs and pass them on to consumers.
Doctors Don’t Listen
The US healthcare system has many irregularities within it, including how doctors interact with patients. Several studies have reported that very few doctors actually do a good job of explaining the details of various conditions, treatments and procedures to their patients, making it difficult for open and honest conversations to occur. In many respects, doctors don’t have to listen: with complicated networks and wait times for the best doctors, many patients do not have much of a choice as to who they see for medical attention.
Marketing Influences the Process
In the United States, countless billions are spent every year on influencing how people are treated. For instance, commercials are constantly playing that encourage people to “ask your doctor if [drug] is right for you”, when it is the job of the doctor to determine what treatment is best suited. This is unheard of in practically every other country. As if that pressure wasn’t enough, the same brands bombard doctors with free samples, merchandise, coupons and other healthcare marketing gimmicks designed to promote their products and ensure they feature prominently.
From lower life expectancies and higher prices to inferior outcomes and poor oversight, the US healthcare system falls way behind most developed nations’ systems. In many respects, this is a failing system – especially when considering that it exists in the wealthiest nation on the planet.