In 2019, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated the United States spent more than $3.8 trillion on health care expenditures — roughly $11,582 per capita.
Why is the United States spending so much and still ranking so low when it comes to infant mortality rates, maternal mortality rates, heart disease, drug-related deaths, and other low health-related rankings?
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 20 million Americans have gained health care coverage, but there are still more than 28 million Americans uninsured. It is about time our government takes action and begins to address these issues.
With a new administration, President Biden and his staff members should be working on a way to expand our health care system while reducing health expenditures for the country as a whole.
By creating either a national health system used in Great Britain, a socialized health insurance used in Germany, or a national health insurance used in Canada, our health care system will be revolutionary.
The only way Medicare for All can be achieved is by increasing tax rates. Many will disagree with that idea because we already pay so much in taxes. But, in the end, it’ll have a positive effect on the country’s economy.
I mentioned three health care systems. While those systems have flaws, we can combine them to create an equitable, affordable and effective health care system. This tax rate will generate revenue for our health care system, which will serve to cover the salaries of health care workers. And they may become federal employees, or federal contractors.
Current health care money would be diverted to fund research and clinical studies. Private health insurance will be available for people to enroll in if they need extra coverage for their medications. The biopharmaceutical industry is a conversation that also needs to happen soon because medication costs are rising at alarming rates.
Published news reports shared that between 2007 and 2016, the cost of EpiPens rose about 500 percent — from $100 to more than $600. Insulin is another medication whose price has tripled in the last seven years. We need to come up with a solution to address this issue, but that is why privatized health insurance will remain in the market.
Our current Medicaid and Medicare systems are extremely flawed because there is a significant coverage gap. There are many young adults that, after they turn 26, can’t be on their parents’ health care plan, and end up uninsured. The coverage gap refers to those who can’t qualify for Medicaid because they make too much money to qualify, but don’t make enough to afford costly premiums.
The other issue with people being uninsured is the process is too complicated and discourages many people from applying. Or they just can’t find a plan that meets their needs.
There also is a racial factor. In 2016, the Commonwealth Fund reported that non-elderly Hispanics and Blacks had the highest uninsured rates. Some reasons were because of low education levels, unemployment, and where they live geographically.
There are many states — particularly in the south and west — that refuse to expand Medicaid programs. Most of these states have rural communities, and they tend to be people who are poor, live an unhealthy lifestyle, and have higher medical needs.
With states not expanding the Medicaid program, it is preventing individuals from getting access to preventive care. Such care is very important because that can significantly reduce health care expenditures for our country.
With a new administration in the White House, we should all aim to reform our health care system. It is about time the United States joins the many other developed countries that have an effective universal health care system.
Germany, Great Britain and Canada are three countries that have a national health system, socialized health insurance and national health insurance. Others have similar models like Switzerland, Australia, France, and other developed countries.
The United States needs to join that list to continue to be one of the leading countries in the world. We have a lot to work on, but we need to start somewhere. And that should be realizing the United States needs to support Medicare for All.
We also have to begin lobbying Congress and reaching out to our local and state representatives to push the Biden administration to begin reforming the Affordable Care Act, and creating a completely new model that will revolutionize our country’s health care system.
The author, a resident of Riverdale, is a health care policy major at Wheaton College Massachusetts, and was asked to craft an opinion piece for a local newspaper as extra credit as part of a cross-registration program at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.