One of the most common truisms in the modern world is how broken the American healthcare system is. It has been improved considerably because of Obamacare, but the system still languishes behind many other nations in terms of cost and outcomes. One of the biggest reasons for this is the American healthcare system’s focus on the profit motive. Healthcare providers have an incentive to put profits over patients. That mindset leads to a system where patients sometimes get bad results because organizations put money before them.
An Insufficient System
There are many symptoms of the flaws in American healthcare. One of the most significant symptoms is how many people are willing to go without healthcare to save themselves financially. People are apprehensive about going to the hospital because they know it will potentially lead to financial ruin if they don’t have health insurance. What’s more, doctors’ offices must manage financial components of healthcare, which acts as a distraction from providing patient care. Many physicians rely on healthcare contracting solutions to negotiate with insurance companies. These companies are a necessary service working between patients and healthcare providers. They make sure that patients never really feel the full costs of healthcare, and providers never have to show what they are charging to their patients. In doing these things, health insurance companies become the biggest problem in the healthcare system.
How Obamacare Improved Things
The Affordable Care Act was a landmark bill for reforming the healthcare system. While it did some great things, it has not done enough to alleviate the profit motive in the American healthcare system. One thing that it did well was to change the age that children could stay on their parent’s healthcare plans. That change meant a lot of college-aged kids could still get the care they needed by using their parent’s insurance plan. It also provided access to many low-income people who would not be able to get health insurance before. However, the profit motive won out, and Obamacare was not enough to make the American system better for everyone.
Why For-Profit Makes the System Flawed
Money over patients is the main reason why the American healthcare system is flawed. Drug companies have the incentive to charge as much as possible for new medication because they are more beholden to shareholders and not patients. Health insurance companies want to charge as much as possible because they know healthcare is something that people need. Finally, the hospital will charge the maximum amount of money possible to patients looking for treatment. All of these organizations, putting profit first, caused the price of healthcare to balloon to an extreme level. Patients end up dying rather than getting into debt to get the treatment they need. There are people forced to choose between getting life-saving medication and buying food. Tragedies like these are just another symptom of a flawed healthcare system.
Financial Factors Driving Decisions
Until something changes, we will continue to see this system play out in everyday life. Companies and hospitals will continue to try to make as much profit as possible without regard for what patients are going through. This burden will also keep falling to doctors who have to decide between money and lives. This will continue until the way people look at healthcare in America is fundamentally changed. When that happens, we might see a new day of lower costs and more healthcare access for everyone in American society.