Let’s discuss the complex American health care system.
An FKD Feature exclusive

Stressed out

Recently, Bankrate found that more than half of the people they surveyed are worried they may not have affordable healthcare in the future.

Though 56 percent said they are nervous about their future health care, that percentage is nearly the same as the one that Bankrate calculated in 2013.

Bankrate’s June 2017 survey followed the U.S. House passage of a bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare. Though the percentage is about the same as it was four years ago, this change in national healthcare is contributing to the overall feeling of uneasiness that people have been expressing.

There was a significant difference in political-party responses: 54 percent of Republicans reported that they are not worried at all about their future health care, while just 10 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents agreed.

Paying out-of-pocket

The survey also showed that patients ages 27-36 are the most likely to skip out on a doctor’s appointment due to cost. About one-third of Americans in that age group said they’ve chosen not to seek needed medical attention because they couldn’t afford it.

One-quarter of Americans also said that either they or someone in their family had skipped necessary medical care because of the cost.

This is understandable since the average U.S. resident spends about $1,074 out-of-pocket on health care. In 2013, the U.S. also greatly surpassed other countries in terms of private health spending (including private insurance premiums), spending $3,442 per capita. That was five times what was spent in Canada, the second-highest spending country.

The United States healthcare system

The United States has an incredibly complicated health care system, one that has separate systems for different classes of people.

Though the United States is one of the only high-income countries not to have universal health care, it spends more on health care per person than every other country.

Despite this spike in spending, the United States doesn’t have the best health outcomes. It ranks last place in life expectancy among the 12 wealthiest countries, at 79.1 years.

A 2013 data analysis of 13 high-income countries also showed that the U.S. infant mortality rate was the highest, sitting at 6.1 deaths per 1,000 births, while the median was 3.5.

This same analysis found that chronic diseases are also more prevalent in the United States, with 68 percent of adults 65 and older having at least two chronic conditions. In other countries, this figure ranged from 33 percent (in the U.K.) to 56 percent (in Canada).

Hospital and physician procedures also cost the most in the United States. The average price of bypass surgery in 2013 was $75,345, which was more than $30,000 higher than in Australia, the second-highest country, where it cost $42,130. In the Netherlands, it cost a mere $15,742.

Takeaway

There is no perfect health care system. Countries with every form of health care see other issues arise, and that’s unavoidable.

Hopefully, as the health care debate evolves, the United States will settle on one that makes people less stressed and anxious.

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Header image: Adobe Stock

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Posted 06.14.2017 - 03:06 pm EDT