The quality and cost of healthcare in the United States is perpetually a pressing challenge. The country’s health care cost is projected to continue to rise in the next few years. In addition to that, the varying medical services costs in the US also remains as a foregoing problem.
Monopolistic pricing of big hospitals has been one of the top reasons why healthcare in America is awfully expensive. Also, many people have the misconception that only popular private hospitals can deliver better service quality. Because of this, they believe that the private hospitals are worth the steep medical costs.
According to an article from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the USA has spent an average of $11,110 per individual on healthcare in 2019 alone. On the other hand, well-developed countries that are members of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) spend an average of only $5,500 per individual. This comparison heavily insinuates that the amount of resources the US spends on healthcare is disproportionate.
Given that the healthcare cost in the United States is outrageously expensive, here are some of the most practical ideas to make it more affordable.
1. Reduce administrative costs on healthcare facilities.
Admin costs imposed by hospitals and clinics are cited as one of the main contributors to excessive healthcare expenses. Healthcare facilities in the USA have multiple systems that without doubt lead to more waste.
Hospitals and clinics should be mandated to cut back admin costs for their services. This will not only help to reduce patients’ total medical bills, but it will also allow them to allocate those excess costs to medicines and other after-care expenses.
2. Promote virtual healthcare.
Healthcare providers and patients must take advantage of today’s innovative technology. Although some medical professionals have been using telemedicine with their patients already, it is still not as widely used in the United States.
Virtual checkups are relatively cheaper than walk-in consultations. Additionally, it is also more convenient for patients living in remote places or those who do not have the time to visit their physician’s clinic.
According to the American Telemedicine Association, health insurance companies such as Medicaid and Medicare also cover telehealth services for all policy holders.
3. Get rid of unnecessary lab tests for patients.
Laboratory tests offered by healthcare facilities in the US are not cheap. A common reason why patients’ total medical bills are expensive is due to multiple lab tests required by healthcare providers. Additionally, many patients go through numerous lab tests which are unnecessary.
As a solution, doctors must not require their patients to get unnecessary tests during checkups or admission. Instead, they must require patients to get the tests if they are necessary for their clinical evaluation.
4. Regulate the prices of drugs and allow Medicare to negotiate prices.
One of the biggest challenges in the American healthcare sector is the rising costs of drugs. Expensive drugs are the biggest reason for overspending in America. Unlike in America, medicine prices in Europe are regulated by the government based on medication and clinical benefit.
Medicare, an insurer that pays a huge chunk of the USA’s drug costs, should also be allowed to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers. This will help to reduce the cost of drugs.
5. People should be allowed to buy health insurance from any company.
All American citizens should be allowed to shop around for health insurance providers. Doing this will create a more competitive environment among insurance companies across the US. As a result, insurance premiums will become cheaper and insurers will offer more added benefits to their policies.
6. Require clinics and hospitals to post prices for all services they offer.
As mentioned earlier, the wide variation of care costs in the US has been a great factor in the country’s expensive healthcare.
By posting the prices for their care services, healthcare will become more accessible in the United States. Transparency on care services pricing is essential as it compels healthcare providers to be more reasonable with their prices.
7. Encourage personal responsibility and a healthier lifestyle for all individuals.
To cut back on the country’s upscale spending on healthcare, citizens should be encouraged to lead a healthier lifestyle.
If individuals in the US become healthier, it will result in the reduction of preventable diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. This can be done by encouraging people to change their eating habits, quit smoking, and become more active.
How Expensive Healthcare in The US Affects the Citizens
The cost of healthcare in America mainly affects people with insufficient funds for care services. Below are some of the common negative effects of the country’s upscale care cost.
Less Salary and Wage Increase: Companies that provide health insurance for their employees will have fewer abilities to impose salary and wage increases for their manpower. As they bear a higher cost for health insurance, their budget will not be sufficient to support compensation hikes.
Increase in the Population of Uninsured Individuals: The ever-increasing healthcare cost of America could lead to an increase of citizens with no health insurance. This probability could affect majority of the people who are poor.
Rise in Taxes and Fees: Property taxes, in specific, has the ability to cover for the healthcare expenses of the US. However, this can have adverse effects on property-owners across the country.
Lower Care-Quality for the Elderly: Family members may struggle to pay for the healthcare expenses of their loved ones who are elderly or disabled. Nursing homes can also become expensive; thus, they are forced to provide care for them at home without any professional assistance.
Lower Care Quality Overall: As nurses and staff are being reduced in healthcare facilities in the US, the quality of healthcare overall can be reduced. The lack of nursing staff could also result in physicians spending less time with their patients. As a result, the rates of medical misdiagnosis is likely to rise.
Conclusion: Although there is a huge doubt that the healthcare cost in the US will become more affordable anytime soon, these ideas and suggestions can result to great changes. This way, the quality of care in the country will be not only quality but also very affordable.