The Price of Quality Healthcare in the United States
When you come to think of it, we put ourselves at risk every day. Driving, for example, poses a 9.1% risk of crashing at a 10-mph speed. The food that we eat—if unhealthy—brings us closer to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. There are dangers everywhere. That’s why we need the safety blanket that is affordable healthcare.
However, as much as hospitals would want to give everyone access to healthcare, they need to retain enough profit and funding to keep their operations going. Some hospitals ensure this by using revenue cycle management (RCM), an administrative system that traces the transactions and care of patients from the moment they register to their complete payout. The RCM checks and notes the data of the patient from their personal information, treatments, and insurance.
By taking note of all these data, the hospital can guarantee that it can continue providing patients the service that they need, even though it may not always be cheap. According to Investopedia, “Healthcare in the U.S. is about twice as expensive as it is in any other developed country.” This industry values at $3 trillion, and here are a couple of reasons for this large sum of money:
- Unwarranted medical tests
It’s common for doctors to order a series of tests on their patients to double-check their symptoms. Some doctors would say that this is necessary to be entirely sure about diagnoses. Unfortunately, this has also been a subject of criticism in the healthcare industry.
The numbers show that a total of $282 million has gone to unnecessary medical treatments. Among the expenses on 47 medical tests, more than one-third of it was unneeded. Additionally, 85% of laboratory tests were unwarranted because the patients were already viable for low-risk surgeries. All these come at a price where citizens fish an enormous sum out of their pockets and insurance.
- Administrative costs
In the U.S., more is indeed more. David Cutler, an economist, cited that administrative costs take up a quarter of healthcare expenses. For one, the healthcare system in the United States uses technologically-advanced equipment to treat its patients. There is nothing wrong with this, but the number of equipment may be where the discrepancy is. The RealClearPolicy states that “the U.S. has 35 MRI machines for every million people while France only has 8.”
The fight for affordable healthcare
Despite the skyrocketing value of the U.S. healthcare system, the Affordable Care Act aims to guarantee that every person gets “some basic security” when it was passed in 2010. Among its goals were to lower healthcare costs, improve the quality of treatments, and insure 30 million Americans.
Because of this act, more than 20 million Americans received insurance, and 37 states widened their Medicaid reach. It has given minority groups, impoverished citizens, and small business owners more access to healthcare at a possible cheaper rate.
Problems still arise concerning this law, but it provides chances of better and cheaper healthcare to the people. Because of this, everyone should continue fighting for affordable, quality healthcare as it is a fundamental human right.