Tuesday, June 15

The Future of American Healthcare

By: Matthew Jean-Mary

Regardless of political leaning, many Americans believe financing for healthcare in the United States of America will likely have to change in the near future. As it currently stands, the United States spends more money on healthcare than any other country in the world. However, this is greatly deceiving because the United States is not reaping the results achieved by other developed countries. It has been shown that — on average — U.S. citizens visit primary care physicians less frequently than other nations despite the fact that U.S. adults typically have greater health needs and demands (U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective, 2019 | Commonwealth Fund). Intel from the Commonwealth Fund survey indicates that U.S. adults lack the income to pay for physician visits, medical tests, and treatments. The consequences are substantial as the U.S. has a very high rate of amenable mortality (112 deaths per 100,000 people). Additionally, the amenable mortality rate has declined slower in the U.S. than in other developed countries since 2000. Another reason for concern over the United States healthcare spending is the high degree of wastefulness. It is estimated that as much as 25% of healthcare spending (760 billion-935 billion) is unnecessary, due to poor care or overtreatment; excessive medications, tests, treatments, and procedures may lead to a neutral or net loss in benefit (potential harm). Improved financing and healthcare policies could save the United States money and help decrease the federal deficit, but even more importantly save the lives of many citizens.

In future papers, I will evaluate the benefits and costs of the United States continuing its current course of financing healthcare as well as that of alternative policies which have been proposed to “fix,” the healthcare system. My analysis will attempt to determine if the U.S. really is in desperate need of structural or significant policy change in healthcare based on future projections of the federal deficit. My early thoughts are that the United States would benefit from exercising better discretion with how money is spent in the healthcare arena combined with progressive tax strategies and/or consumer products.

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