The healthcare system in the United States is deeply broken, and it is causing massive financial pain for millions of American families. Previously, I have published articles where I talked about how medical bills are the primary factor in two-thirds of all personal bankruptcies in the United States, and that Americans had to borrow a whopping 88 billion dollars last year to cover medical costs.
This is happening even though more than 90 percent of all Americans have some form of health coverage. Thanks to soaring deductibles and health insurance policies that are absolutely riddled with loopholes, more Americans than ever are being wiped out by medical bills. And now a brand new study that was conducted by researchers from the American Cancer Society has discovered that 137.1 million Americans suffered “medical financial hardship in the past year”. The following comes directly from the study…
Approximately 137.1 million (95% CI 132.7–141.5) adults reported any medical financial hardship in the past year. Hardship is more common for material, psychological and behavioral domains in adults aged 18–64 years (28.9%, 46.9%, and 21.2%, respectively) than in adults aged ≥ 65 years (15.3%, 28.4%, and 12.7%, respectively; all p < .001). Lower educational attainment and more health conditions were strongly associated with hardship intensity in multivariable analyses in both age groups (p < .001). In the younger group, the uninsured were more likely to report multiple domains of hardship (52.8%), compared to those with some public (26.5%) or private insurance (23.2%) (p < .001). In the older group, individuals with Medicare only were more likely to report hardship in multiple domains (17.1%) compared to those with Medicare and public (12.1%) or Medicare and private coverage (10.1%) (p < .001).
We are the wealthiest nation on the entire planet, and we should have the greatest healthcare system.
This shouldn’t be happening.
And the conclusion that the study ultimately reached is that things are likely to get even worse as we move into the future…
Medical financial hardship is common in the USA, especially in adults aged 18–64 years and those without health insurance coverage. With trends towards higher patient cost-sharing and increasing health care costs, risks of hardship may increase in the future.
When I ran for Congress, I strongly stressed the need for a complete and total overhaul of our healthcare system, but unfortunately our current representatives in Washington don’t seem too interested in that.
Today, many Americans try to avoid our healthcare system as much as possible because they are afraid of being hit with absolutely ridiculous bills.
Just consider the case of 9-year-old Oakley Yoder. She went for a hike in the woods at summer camp, and a snake bite forced her to go to the hospital…
It was dusk as Oakley Yoder and the other summer camp kids hiked back to their tents at Illinois’ Jackson Falls last July. As the group approached a mound of boulders blocking the path, Oakley, then 9, didn’t see the lurking snake — until it bit a toe on her right foot.
“I was really scared,” Oakley said. “I thought that I could either get paralyzed or could actually die.”
So how much do you think her treatment cost?
A few hundred dollars?
A few thousand dollars?
Actually, the total bill was $142,938…
Total bill: $142,938, including $67,957 for four vials of antivenin ($55,577.64 was charged for air ambulance transport). The balance included a ground ambulance charge and additional hospital and physician charges, according to the family’s insurer, IU Health Plans.
This is yet another example that shows that our current system needs to be totally dismantled and rebuilt from scratch.
You could buy an entire house for $142,938.
Here are some more facts from a previous article that show just how dramatically the U.S. healthcare system has failed…
–3.7 trillion dollars was spent on health care in the United States in 2018. That breaks down to $10,739 per person.
-If our health care system was a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet.
–76 percent of Americans believe that they pay too much for the quality of health care that they receive.
-Out of the 36 counties in the OECD, the U.S. ranks 31st in infant mortality.
-Prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States today.
-Pharmaceutical companies spend approximately 30 billion dollars a year to market their drugs to all of us.
–Nearly half of all U.S. doctors are considering leaving the field of medicine, and health insurance companies are the primary reason.
-The median charge for visiting an emergency room in the United States is well over a thousand dollars.
I could go on and on all day, but let me give you just one more example of how flawed our healthcare system has become.
John Kapoor, the billionaire founder of Insys Theraputics, was just found guilty of bribing doctors to prescribe high doses of a painkiller called Subsys…
Kapoor oversaw a marketing strategy at Insys that hired doctors as speakers at educational seminars as cover to pay them more than $1m to prescribe high doses of Subsys to patients who did not need it. Prosecutors said the seminars were no more than social gatherings at expensive New York restaurants followed by company sales reps taking the physicians to strip clubs and bars.
Prosecutors showed the jury spreadsheets of payments to doctors and how much the company profited from each bribe. In one instance, the company paid nearly $260,000 to two New York doctors who wrote more than $6m worth of Subsys prescriptions in 2014. Insys employees also posed as doctors to give insurance companies invented diagnoses to get approval for payments for the drug.
In this case justice was done, but the truth is that this sort of stuff happens in the medical world constantly.
Our entire healthcare system is now completely dominated by the pharmaceutical giants, the big health insurance companies and greedy corporate interests.
They don’t care about us. All they really care about is making as much money as possible, and if people get hurt in the process they are willing to live with that.