Tuesday, March 20, 2018

American Healthcare

American Healthcare
By Emily Burk

Should going to the doctor cost you an arm and a leg? The average American pays more than double the amount for their healthcare than what those in other nations. American prices related to health care are nearly double that of European and neighboring nations, and our healthcare is not of higher quality. American healthcare is too focused on adding to the GDP and raising consumer spending. The standard of healthcare needs to be raised, not our prices!

The cost of life saving treatments, prescription drugs, and imaging tests used to save people’s lives, topple the prices found anywhere else. For more information click here. As stated by CNN, “ Americans spent more than $9,400 per capita on health care that year, compared to an average of $5,400 in the peer nations.” Americans pay greedy inflated prices, but the quality of care is no better. Americans still have a lower life expectancy, worse care for birthing mothers, and a higher infant mortality rate, some of the most important factors reflecting the health of a country. Additionally, “The average salary for a general practice physician in the United States was more than $218,000, compared to an average of nearly $134,000 in the peer nations. Specialists were paid $316,000, compared to nearly $183,000, while nurses earned more than $74,000, compared to just under $52,000” (Luhby). America is more focused on making a profit, than improving quality of care and saving lives. Americans are making such huge investments into the medical system, further damaging the already ridiculous price of healthcare. American doctors and healthcare workers are paid almost double that of counterparts, yet more people still die.

The overwhelming prices of basic healthcare also discourage Americans for going to the doctor due to high medical bills. Additionally adding insult to injury, if Americans cannot pay their bills up front, some hospitals even charge their patients interest rates, only furthering the debt and inability to pay for those patients. America needs to lower their healthcare prices and make it more affordable for its citizens. Following the example of many peer nations, practicing free healthcare will find America a better quality of care, longer life expectancy, and improved health of the country. There is no necessity to make life saving drugs astronomically more than other countries, or deny care to patients who cannot afford to pay hundreds or thousands for their care.

America needs to find more innovative ways to lower the cost of healthcare. For example, “The biggest cost savings could be realized if we eliminated the practice of defensive medicine,” (Weinreb) in which we avoid ordering unnecessary tests and screening to avoid responsibility if something goes wrong in the future. Overall, America’s healthcare is ridiculously overpriced, and will lead to the point where more people than not cannot afford to keep themselves healthy. America needs to take note of peer nations, and take example of the healthcare system that keeps many more people healthy. We need to make a change and admit we got it wrong.

Works Cited 

Luhby, Tami. “Americans Spend Nearly Twice as Much on Health Care, but Have Shorter Lives.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 16 Mar. 2018, money.cnn.com/2018/03/15/news/economy/health-care-spending/index.html?iid=SF_River.

Squires, David, and Chloe Anderson. “U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective.”Spending, Use of Services, Prices, and Health in 13 Countries - The Commonwealth Fund, 8 Oct. 2015, www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2015/oct/us-health-care-from-a-global-perspective.

Weinreb, Saul. “How to Fix the Cost of American Health Care.” TheHill, 11 Feb. 2018, thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/373297-how-to-fix-the-cost-of-american-health-care.


  1. I thought the statistics you provided were shocking -- I'm surprised that the salary of medical professionals in other countries is so much lower than those in America, especially because healthcare in America is considered worse. I remember reading a related article about a hospital throwing out a patient who couldn't pay, which emphasizes the drive for profit in the medical field over quality care. I definitely agree that there needs to be a change in the industry.

  2. I am mildly surprised at some of those statistics, but not all of them. The U.S. healthcare industry is a subsidized form of capitalism which means it tends toward progress as opposed to universality, explaining the high pay of doctors. I'm not a fan of opinion pieces so I'm ignoring your CNN and theHill articles, but the commonwealth fund does show that there is a negative correlation between average spending and cancer death rates(that's a good thing) which I'm assuming applies to much more than just cancer, implying that the U.S. is making good contributions to science and medical techniques that can get implemented around the world. Also, what isn't accounted for in the commonwealth article is societal factors. America's obesity problem, poor diet, and lack of fitness likely causes many health detriments that could make our healthcare appear worse when in fact it is our populous that is worse.

  3. I am surprised by the statistics you mentioned. The U.S. Healthcare is usually considered worse than that in other countries, so it's surprising that they mentioned that healthcare professionals in other countries get paid so much less.


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