The U.S. health care system differs significantly from those of other countries, particularly in its lack of free health care for all citizens. American health care falls short in many areas compared to countries with free health care, such as maternal and infant mortality rates, life expectancy, and preventable deaths due to insufficient health care, as highlighted by a 2021 Commonwealth Fund report. The current system primarily benefits insurance agencies and third-party providers, with some profiting from reduced medical expenses, while the quality and accessibility of health care for citizens are compromised.
American Health Care System: The Need for Free Access
The structure of the American health care system significantly differs from that of other nations, primarily because free health care is not granted to its citizens. The question remains whether this system should be re-evaluated, especially in light of statistics comparing American health care performance with countries providing free health care, the role of health insurance agencies, and their apparent profit-first approach.
The system’s unfairness is evident as accessibility to health care resources heavily depends on household income. The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation promoting equitable access to quality health care, shed light on this issue. In their 2021 report, the U.S. lags behind other countries in aspects such as maternal mortality, infant mortality, life expectancy at 60, and preventable deaths due to ineffective health care.
The report underscores that the inaccessibility of health care essentially reduces the value of life to the amount paid to health insurance agencies. Consequently, not every citizen receives equivalent protection, and some may die simply because they could not afford adequate health care.
This lack of affordable health care also diminishes the quality of medical outcomes. As per the Commonwealth Fund, compared to countries with free health care, the U.S.’s performance is below average and significantly less than that of Switzerland and Canada. Therefore, the absence of free health care negatively distinguishes the U.S.
So, who is benefiting from private healthcare, if not the citizens? Research shows that insurance agencies and third-party providers reap most, if not all, benefits from this system. In a recent column in The Economist, Neeraj Sood of the University of Southern California revealed that these agencies likely reduce their spending to maximize profits, often denying necessary medical procedures and medications. Thus, the health care system focuses primarily on business factors and profit rather than patient care.
In conclusion, the greed of insurance agencies, coupled with America’s inferior health care quality compared to countries with free health care, detrimentally affects American citizens. Therefore, it may be time to reconsider the direction of this complicated and ineffective system.