Increasing Healthcare Costs in the United States

February 27, 2019

It was in 2010, Obama’s Affordable Care Act was passed. Since then, Congress has done everything to stop it. They even shut down the government for a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, Obama Care exist only cause of astronomically high healthcare costs. Time and again, it’s proved that U.S has the most expensive yet least effective health care system. . Medical bill is the number one reason why Americans file bankruptcy. Tweets by Bernie Sanders cannot attack the government more. The average citizen is intimidated about falling sick outside the insurance coverage. So, why exactly is healthcare ridiculously expensive in this part of the world?

One of a kind healthcare system

Healthcare in U.S is totally different from rest of the world. Surprisingly, U.S is the only developed country without universal healthcare. More often than not, healthcare is seen as a commodity, rather than a social need. Prices are not entirely determined by procedure costs. Hospitals and insurance companies negotiate the prices. It’s more based on bargaining power of different entities. Patients have no say on the costs. They don’t have effective alternatives to the healthcare system too. Like it or not, they have to be treated in such unfavorable settings. Labeling the system as crony capitalism wouldn’t be farfetched either.

Why insurance costs are high?

Unlike other commodities, health care costs always go up. It leads to a perpetually increasing price point. Hospitals are responsible for treating uninsured patients. Their treatment costs are tagged on to the insured patients. It explains why the health insurances are too high. The American hospitals spend higher than other hospitals, when it comes to administrative costs. Moreover, doctors earn more for the exact same procedures than in other countries. The average physician earning is ~ $230,000 in the U.S. It’s the double of non-U.S. figures.  Every part of the process is costlier in the U.S.

Blame is equally shared by citizens…

Modern healthcare charging people more money is one thing. The American health problems are a whole different issue. In addition, the dietary system and lifestyle of an average American can cause health issues. Fat food chains are cropping up like mushrooms every year .Obesity is at record high in the country. It throws the blame of higher medical costs on Americans themselves. In the current setup, most people don’t go to the doctor, until there is no option left. In other developed countries, people avoid heart attacks by frequenting hospitals for check-ups. When people get heart attacks there, they are less likely to receive costlier open heart surgeries.

Rise of medical tourism

American doctors make more money for performing certain medical procedures. Thus, they are incentivized indirectly to push for unnecessary surgeries. It makes the ultimate irony possible. U.S is amongst the worst health care system among developed nations though being biggest spender on the same. Although the care is deemed considerably ineffective, hospitals and pharma companies are raking billions of dollars every year. Owing to expensive health care, many Americans are going overseas to get dental care, heart surgeries and more treatments. Countries like India, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore are competing for medical tourists.