The Care of Healthcare in the United States | Mariam Qazilbash

It should be noted that the inspiration for this piece came from the lectures in the Predictive Health and Society Class (Anthropology 231/Health 310). Many of the stats are taken from these lectures. There is a works cited listed at the end with a list of the professors whose work is cited in this feature.

Upon hearing the word “healthcare” most Americans first thought is “The Affordable Care Act” also known as “Obamacare”. However, this government program should not be the first thought that comes to people’s mind. Healthcare is more than just a government policy; it is a concept that encompasses all civilians whether or not they realize it. A common misconception is that health refers to a lack of disease, but where would this leave those who are disabled but not “sick”? Rather, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) health refers to “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Health is an important concept for Americans to be familiar with because it is relevant to everyone and yet most Americans are not in the health they should be in compared to the amount of money that is spent on healthcare, due to the fact that people do not understand that healthcare is more than just people not eating apples or going for daily runs.

The first problem with Americans and healthcare is that most do not understand how healthcare works in terms of funding. The US spent about $3.8 trillion on healthcare alone in 2014, and spends about $8,000 per person annually compared to the OECD, which is an average of countries that are similar to the US who spend about $2,000 on each person annually. Moreover, not only is the US spending an incredible amount of money on healthcare, but the US is also experiencing an obesity epidemic across the country. In addition the number one cause of death in the US is Heart Disease followed by Cancer and Medical errors. How is it that a country spending nearly a third of their government funding on health is also ranked as one of the top countries with poor health among their citizens. Simple, the quality of healthcare is not up to par with how much is invested.

In order to correct this issue, it is important to identify which particular aspects of the healthcare system need to be changed; with the most obvious being the cost of everything. Before Obamacare, many people across the country were without health insurance. Despite any controversy this act may have sparked, the fact is that with Obamacare in place there has been a historical reduction in people without health insurance. In addition, the expansion of Medicaid has significantly helped those below the poverty line gain access to healthcare. In order to progress from these two improvements, the next step should be more collaboration. Majority of the $3.8 trillion allotted to healthcare goes to paychecks and equipment funding primarily for hospitals to compete with one another. If more collaboration existed between hospitals, there would be less need for competition and more of the money would be spent on actual patient care.

Steps such as these are necessary to help reduce the cost of healthcare; so more effort can be towards helping patients receive prime care rather than showing off with expensive equipment. With better quality care, rates such as those for heart disease and obesity can finally start decreasing, putting America on a track to becoming a healthier nation.

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