While fewer Americans are citing a lack of financial resources as a barrier to receiving health care, cost is still a major hindrance on our medical system (Sarnak et al, 2016; Mandal, 2019). Most of the other obstacles preventing Americans from getting the proper care they need can be linked directly with money.
Geography, socioeconomic group, age (tied with fixed income), lack of transportation, and lack of insurance are major components that factor into why adults are forgoing trips to the doctor for both preventative care and emergency services (Mandel, 2019; Osborn et al, 2016). In the US, about a third of adults skipped seeing doctors or filling their prescriptions because of cost compared to about 13% of other developed nations (Osborn et al, 2016; Sarnak et al, 2016).
It is important to notes that most facets of the US healthcare system are more expensive when compared to other countries; chair time, testing, labs, in-house procedures, major surgeries, and medication all cost more in the US than in other countries around the world (Sarnak et al, 2016). Even within our borders, the prices for care and procedures can vary greatly (Healthcare Triage, 2014).
The financial aspects of the US healthcare system are directly tied into the nation’s economy. In capitalism, when the demand is high, the costs of supply increases; in privatized healthcare, the worse the available financial resources, the less care can be afforded. Healthcare providers are some of the most altruistic individuals in the workforce but our field is not as patient-focused. Great change is required to bring the human aspect back into the forefront of healthcare. Failing to do so is failing our patients.
Healthcare Triage. (2014, February 17). The healthcare system of the United States. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN-MkRcOJjY
Mandal, A. (2019, February 26). Disparities in access to health care. News Medical Life Sciences. Retrieved from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Disparities-in-Access-to-Health-Care.aspx
Osborn, r., Squires, D., Doty, M., Sarnak, D., & Schneider, E. (2016, November 16) In new survey of 11 countries, US adults still struggle with access to affordability of health care. The Comonwealth Fund. Retrieved from https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/journal-article/2016/nov/new-survey-11-countries-us-adults-still-struggle-access-and
Sanark, D., Doty, M., Squires, D., & Osborn, R. (2016, November 16). Fewer Americans say cost is a barrier to getting care, but US still has a long way to go. The Commonwealth Fund. Retrieved from https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2016/fewer-americans-say-cost-barrier-getting-care-us-still-has-long-way-go