If you think that everything to do with the US healthcare system is hunky-dory, then think again. There are serious problems in the industry and, unfortunately, it’s costing lives.
Here are the biggest issues that we face.
Lack Of Transparency
Most companies have regular audits and publish the results of the findings for the general public to see. When it’s an airline or a supermarket, it’s totally normal.
But the medical system is different. Both providers and insurance companies are unwilling to come forward with any information in many cases, making it difficult for patients to know where they stand. Often, it is individuals who are stuck in the middle, without any real control over their medical care.
Problems Finding A Good Doctor
Related to this are issues regarding finding a good doctor. Data protection and other industry shenanigans means that it is hard for patients to find information about their physician’s qualifications, training and experience. What’s more, there is virtually no publicly-available data on wait times or clinic review scores. Most patients have no idea whether their doctor is the right person to treat their symptoms or not.
Data suggest that medical errors are responsible for around 250,000 deaths per year – a colossal figure which is around 10 percent of all deaths in the US.
High Healthcare Costs
Added to this are high healthcare costs across the board. US firms spend around 10 percent of GDP on healthcare, with private citizens picking up a further 10 percent.
What’s more, the rate of spending on healthcare is growing. Within a couple of decades, it could hit 30 percent of GDP, putting a significant damper on economic growth.
In South Africa, the cost of performing a C-section to deliver a baby is $3,200. However, in the US, it is $13,000, despite the treatment being virtually the same. The issue is not that America is using better technology, but more to do with how the financial system underlying medical care works.
Poor Insurance Coverage
There’s also the issue of poor insurance coverage. Not everyone has access to policies to protect them. Some simply can’t afford them, while others prefer to take the risk than pay high premiums.
Government medical cover provides some services, but not many. Most people who do not have insurance don’t have cover for most things that could go wrong and affect them in the future, according to healthypeople.gov.
Shortage Of Staff
Despite high pay, there is a shortage of medical staff. The Association of American Medical Colleges says that the country will need between 54,000 and 139,000 primary care and specialist physicians within the next decade, but does not know where they are going to come from. If current trends continue, physicians are not going to be able to see all their patients.