The U.S. healthcare system is an ongoing failure and is in the state of calamity. The United States did badly in terms of health access, affordability, and health outcomes. The United Kingdom ranked first, followed by other countries such as Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Germany, Canada, and France.
Unfortunately, the U.S. healthcare is lagging behind the European Union. The average U.S. life expectancy is somewhere around 78.7 years when compared with 81 in the European Union. The U.S. life expectancy rate has fallen dramatically over the last three years, while has increased all around the globe.
The U.S. infant mortality rate is 5.6 per 1,000 life birth, while in the EU, it is only 3.6.
The U.S. maternal mortality rate is 14 per 100,000 birth, while in Greece, Poland, and Finland, it is just 3 deaths per 100,000 births.
To add to such misery, the U.S. healthcare costs 18% of GDP and the EU healthcare costs barely 9%, such is the difference.
The U.S. healthcare system does perform well when it comes to doctor-patient relationships and end-of-life care. However, it does less well in terms of population health. It has a high rate of infant mortality and a low life expectancy rate, as mentioned earlier. Also, it has the highest rate of mortality rate that can be prevented by physicians and hospitals.
This staggering underperformance by the U.S. healthcare system raises three crucial doubts: What is wrong with the country’s healthcare system? Why did they perform so badly? Why have they failed to address anything about it?
President Bill Clinton was unsuccessful with his healthcare reforms. The Medicare reform attempted by President George W. Bush significantly increased the drug cost for no specific reason. Later, President Barack Obama brought some significant improvements in health insurance coverage, while the Republicans wanted to abolish it.
Although free marketers have expressed expectations that the market would resolve healthcare problems with the implementation of new technology and charity, no progress has been recorded for the last two decades.
There are five chief reasons for the failure of the U.S. healthcare system:
- Costly and dysfunctional health insurance
- Non-transparent and prejudiced pricing system
- Anticompetitive pharmaceutical complex
- Highly-profitable tort industry
- Significantly high incomes of physicians
Experts opine that everything is wrong with the U.S. healthcare finance at this juncture. It is fragmented with four major public systems, out of which only Medicare and a variety of private insurance schemes are efficient. European countries have either direct state financing or universal private insurance, which are administered in a much better way.
U.S. insurance companies often work for profit and pester their customers with numerous administrative queries than delivering services, which is not the case with European insurance companies.
After ObamaCare came into existence, many insured American citizens were deprived of the insurance benefits because the insurance companies accused “pre-existing conditions.” Also, ObamaCare reduced the share of uninsured American citizens. However, things are not going to improve in U.S. healthcare system until it opts for a uniform financing system.
Some markets are more protected than the market for patented medications. Their prices are much, much higher than anywhere else. One of the major concerns of the U.S. government is to stop cheap imports from other countries, including Canada.
The steep rising healthcare cost is a major reason that the real incomes of Americans have been stagnated for more than 35 years. Can they really continue to accept this uneconomical harm? The Republicans have tried to get rid of ObamaCare and its limited improvements in healthcare, but they struggled to bring out an alternative. Meanwhile, simplifying insurance, improving administrative efficiency, and offering the best primary care to patients can amend the U.S. healthcare system.