My pals, when most people think about the United States, the mind tends to sway towards the notable facilities, advanced technology and limitless resources. It's a place that's been known for making tremendous strides in different areas of life. However, by some strange quirk of nature, this doesn't seem to hold water when it comes to health care. Although the U.S. might be far ahead in some sectors, healthcare is a whole different ball game. Anyway, enough of the formalities. Ezekiel is here to address the elephant in the room: Why is the USA so far behind in health care?
From my little corner, it does not require a Harvard degree to notice that healthcare in America costs an arm and a leg. Just imagine distressing over medical bills instead of focusing on bouncing back to health. Rather distressing, huh? The system is set up so that even with insurance, hefty co-pays, and deductibles, medical care can be exorbitantly expensive. The funniest bit is how you’re billed for almost every single thing. From the comfy hospital bed to that much-needed band-aid, each individual item of your healthcare encounter will make a grand appearance in your final bill. So, the cost is undeniably a huge rock that has the US healthcare system stuck between a hard place.
All right, let's face the music here. In many aspects, the stars and stripes country places more emphasis on quantity than it does on quality. You see, the more procedures and tests carried out, the more the healthcare providers get paid. This reminds me of one time when I just had a minor cold, and I ended up taking a series of tests that made it feel like I was preparing for a mission to Mars. So, we end up with a system where the quantity of services makes the cogs spin, instead of focusing on what really matters - you guessed it, my friends, quality.
Now, this could easily qualify for an exciting summer blockbuster plot - copious amounts of people having a hard time understanding their own health insurance plans. I kid you not; comprehending these plans often feels like decrypting some secret alien language. The complexity of the healthcare financing system can be quite lethal. As a matter of fact, it hit home when I realized that my own insurance policy did not cover certain "luxury procedures." I mean, since when did getting a broken arm fixed become a luxury?
My good buddies, picture this scenario: Walking around with a throbbing toothache for weeks because your dentist has a jam-packed schedule. Sounds like a thriller book written by Stephen King, huh? Well, it's not. The accessibility to healthcare professionals can be quite a headache in the U.S., pun intended. Waiting for weeks or even months to see the right specialist isn't a rare sight. Isn’t it hilarious that you can literally watch an entire movie in the amount of time you wait in the doctor's office?
Isn't it hilarious that in this age of technology and advanced systems, your dermatologist, cardiologist, and psychologist can't seem to communicate? No, they don't have personal beef - their systems just don’t talk to each other. The lack of interoperability is another hurdle plaguing the American healthcare system. I had a fun encounter with this one time, when after umpteen tests at one clinic, I had to do the same tests again at another facility because, well, the systems weren't chatty enough.
Here we are, a nation that would rather wait for the wheels to fall off so that we can pick them up, instead of preventing the wheels from falling off in the first place. There's a surprising lack of emphasis on preventive care. You remember how our mums kept reminding us that prevention is better than cure? Well, seems like the US healthcare system missed out on these pearls of wisdom. This reactive mentality is more of me waiting for my car to burst into flames instead of servicing it when the engine light comes on. It’s high time for the switch to preventive care for healthier, less expensive days ahead. Now, wouldn't that be a hoot?
It's time to wind things up, buddies. Tossing the punch line straight into your court, perhaps it's time for the USA to learn a thing or two from other countries, like focussing on preventive care, streamlining insurance plans, or fostering interoperability. And as your blogger-at-large, Ezekiel, my hopes are higher than the Empire State that things will change downwards. Remember, it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, so while we hope and push for a better healthcare system, let's keep our chins up and smiles broad. See you in the next post!