The US's Big Drawback: Healthcare

William Norwood

April 8, 2022

The United States was created as a nation for all citizens to have the right to equality, and happiness, but to be happy in today’s America it is becoming increasingly important to work a high paying job. The cost of housing, water, electricity, food, and healthcare makes the US the 10th most expensive country to live in per month. The major blame for this massive cost of living is the cost of healthcare.

Healthcare, has become an expense that people cannot live without, and yet cannot afford. Some people go without regular dentist and doctor visits simply because it is out of their budget. It appears the United States healthcare system was built for the rich, not for all Americans.

Over the last decade, the United States has continued to have the highest healthcare cost throughout the world. The American healthcare system, unlike other nations, is built on business and not on bettering and helping the lives of others. This model for healthcare means that the healthcare companies, be it independent doctors offices or hospitals, care less about the care they offer and more about profit margins. Hospitals tend to increase their profits by limiting the amount of nurses they hire, and overwork the ones they do. Hospitals also take money from major pharmaceutical companies to sell their drugs to their patients, increasing the payout for insurance companies.

By far the largest blame for the extensive cost of healthcare is big pharma. Pharmaceutical companies simply exist to provide earnings to shareholders, which has shaped American law to allow for medication to be sold at higher prices than in other nations. Most other nations have limitations on the price of prescribed medication, but the US has little to none, mostly thanks to the lobbying industry. The United States is also one of the only nations in the world to allow the consumer direct access to medication. The United States is one of only two countries in the world, along with New Zealand, to allow for the advertisement of medication on television. Proponents defend this by pointing out that all advertisements are followed by a list of possible side effects, and a note to ask your doctor if this medication is right for you. The FDA states that the reason for advertisements is to “...provide useful information for consumers to work with their health care providers to make wise decisions about treatment,” but advertisements tend to confuse the consumer. The advertisement of medication often leads for patients to ask doctors for a change of medication, when it is not necessary and can increase their insurance costs.

The United States is far from the best healthcare systems in the world, but some Americans are not willing to admit that other countries are better than them. According to US News, the best healthcare system is Sweden's, which is a mainly public healthcare system. The US needs to learn to move on from preventing the government from fixing their major flaws. The American healthcare system continues to cast doubt as to whether it is actually possible to pursue happiness without the ability to pay for healthcare.