The role of insurance in healthcare
April 3, 2023
Despite the fact that access to affordable healthcare is a fundamental human right, it is still a significant problem in the United States. Even though America has one of the most sophisticated healthcare systems in the world, its healthcare is also the most expensive.
The cost of healthcare in the US is still rising, and during the previous ten years, prices have increased by an average of 4% annually. The average American spends 40% more on healthcare than any other country. This is an average of over $12,000 a year per American – a cost many people cannot afford, even with partial insurance. 31% of America’s households without full health insurance carry medical debt.
The truth is that with such expensive rates, many people across the country need adequate insurance. In some cases, a person has no access to insurance at all. When healthcare services are only available to those who can afford them, those with lesser incomes and fewer resources go without critical medical care.
Individuals of color – particularly Black and Hispanic Americans – disproportionately lack access to affordable health insurance. African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to lack health insurance than white people, which raises their risk of worse health outcomes.
But for most people who cannot afford health insurance, it is simply because it has not been made available to them.
People living in middle-or low-class neighborhoods are much less likely to have complete healthcare plans than wealthier people – yet these neighborhoods are often grouped by more than just a household’s average income. When deciding what neighborhoods to consider “rich” or “poor”, racial bias plays a significant role.
Statistics have shown that racial minorities often remain in the same neighborhoods. This unfairly brings down the value of these neighborhoods, making it harder for a person of color to show that they live in a trusted area. Noting this, insurance agencies may be more hesitant to supply a person of color with health insurance.
Not only could this lack of insurance lead many into debt, but it is also completely unfair.
The Constitution states that “health care, including care to prevent and treat illness, is the right of the people and necessary to ensure the strength of the Nation.”
Even if healthcare is available, it is expensive to the point where one can only afford it if they rely on insurance. Depriving someone of this insurance sets them up for financial ruin if they ever need the hospital.
In the end, a person who winds up in the hospital should focus on healing; they shouldn’t have to worry about how to pay for their treatment without insurance.