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Identifying The Major Problems of the US Healthcare System

By: Shahzad Bashir Posted on Tue, 10-10-2023

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The US is the top economy in the world. Do you know, the average national cost for family health insurance has reached $1,152 a month? Additionally, it also considers whether the healthcare services are sufficient for such a large population. How much cost the government is bearing to provide the best medical care to patients? Do you know that America is the most expensive country in providing medical services to patients? On the contrary, Norway, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Australia, and the United Kingdom are the countries that provide the best medical services to their clients at a much reduced cost than the US. Although the US is using the latest technology and qualified doctors still its healthcare system is not out of problems. Let’s identify the major problems of the US healthcare system.

Medical Care is Expensive

We often hear this thing that in America medicine is very expensive. You must be wondering why the top economy of the world is unable to control the high cost of medical services. For this, we have analyzed the data and found out that the US spends the most on pharmaceuticals. Therefore, the operational cost is high. They charge high prices to compensate for this cost. Doctors also earn more money in the USA than in any other profession. You must be wondering that although the US is spending the highest on healthcare, what are the reasons that are pulling the US from the list of countries that are providing the best healthcare services? For this, first, we must analyze the factors that are making healthcare services expensive in the US. Because they are using state-of-the-art technology, the physicians charge more for their practices.

Due to digitalization, physicians hire IT resources to manage electronic health records and electronic medical records. The transformation of systems from the old ones is also expensive. Although, many government-run programs have switched paper records to operational costs. The cost is enhanced because proper medical billing services and medical coding services are obtained from the old system. For this reason, many companies in the US are providing a range of specialized services like billing services, coding services, transcription services, and medical translation services.

Cost of Technology

Physicians have opted to install new computers with EHR solutions. To maintain the software, they must pay subscription charges on a monthly basis or for a one-time subscription fee to software vendors. To induct the system into medical and train the people on how to use it, you must take the assistance of IT staff. It also increases the operational cost. Do you know that the healthcare system of the US is different from other countries?

In Canada, you just need to submit the claim to one party but in the case of the US, multiple companies are dealing with healthcare reimbursements. You must submit your medical claims with all the credentials to them. If they don’t find your credential services authentic. They will reject it with relevant objections. To provide better healthcare services to their patients. The US physicians must hire subject matter experts and highly skilled which will cost them high.

Cost of Diagnostic Procedures

Diagnostic procedures are also very high in the U.S. This is because if physicians diagnose the patient incorrectly, it leads to the patient using them. Therefore, doctors ask for more diagnostic tests in the US as compared to other countries. Thus, it leads to more costs. People who have medical insurance can save a lot of money and the people who have not taken insurance are not eligible to negotiate for it. They must pay their charges from their pocket. According to one survey conducted in the US, hospitals are treating uninsured patients more than insured patients. It is one of the biggest problems in the US healthcare system than in any other country.

The Market of Healthcare Vendors

As a consumer in the healthcare market, you don’t need to go to the best seller to buy medical products. This is because the government and consumers don’t negotiate the price with the vendor. Therefore, vendors have a free hand and there is no strict price control entity for them. This is one of the foremost reasons for the high cost of the US healthcare system. You will be amazed to know that medical bankruptcy is common in the US and approximately 650,000 Americans become bankrupt because they are unable to bear the high medical expenses. On the other hand insurance companies also do not help patients to pay less because they want funds to get reimbursed from the government and employer. The government of the United States is spending a large amount of money on the entire healthcare system of the entire country.

The High Cost of Medicines

Although the prices of medicines are rising throughout the world, American people are paying more for medicines as compared to other regions. The government of the United States is not taking any action to control the price of prescription drugs. This is because there is no competition among the medicine vendors in the country. So the consumers must pay higher for prescribed medicines. This creates a problem for those people who must pay from their pockets.

According to the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, patients in the USA are paying 3 times more compared to other countries. Therefore, each American out of 10 Americans can’t afford prescribed medicines. For this reason, many people who are not earning well ask their doctors to prescribe them medicines that are less expensive and guide them to substitute treatment that is not so effective. There is no use of such substitution because still, the patients must visit the doctors again and again for treatment of their ailment. This again results in high costs.

The Medical System is not Transparent

The other major problem in US healthcare is the lack of transparency. This lack of transparency is related to cost and it is prevalent in the healthcare system. It is because of coding and it is one of the fraudulent acts reported. The upcoming system is very difficult to trace. If a person who is an insurance policyholder wants to find out the medical procedure he will not be able to find an appropriate answer. Insurance companies have their money-making business. Therefore, they want to get a good percentage from the employers, however, they follow strict policies when they need to pay insurance policyholders. This sounds good for the insurance business, however, it is bad for patients that depend on the insurance system.

Expensive Medical Equipment

Medical equipment in the US is also very expensive. Moreover, their prices are rising every year. The government of the US encourages the use of technology however, they are not making their prices down. The expensive medical equipment is also enhancing the price of medical care. No doubt the quality of healthcare is outstanding in the US but their high rates are creating a problem for patients. Advanced healthcare systems usually are controlled by the government around the world and the government tries to control their prices.

Medical Errors That Can Be Avoided

Johns Hopkins conducted medical research regarding m

ortality rates for eight years. He concluded that due to medical errors, 250,000 people die every year. This is the third most common reason for deaths after a heart attack and cancer in the US and accounts for 10% of US citizens.

The Shortage of Physicians and Nursing

The shortage of physicians and nurses is a supply-demand issue. According to the data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges AAMC stated that the US will suffer from a shortage of primary and specialty care physicians by 2033 as the demand for medical care is enhancing day by day.

According to AAMC and CEO David J.Skorton

“This annual analysis continues to show that our country will face a significant shortage of physicians in the coming years. The gap between the country’s increasing healthcare demands and the supply of doctors to respond adequately has become more evident as we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge of having enough doctors to serve our communities will get even worse as the nation’s population continues to grow and age.”

The AAMC findings also suggest that every two physicians in five will reach the age of retirement in the next 10 years. It will also cause supply and demand issues.

The Opioid Crisis

Back in 1990, the US experienced increased rates of opioid abuse and opioid-related deaths. This issue has become so prevalent in the country that many health organizations have given it the name of the Opioid Epidemic.

The Opioid crisis is related to the use of prescribed opioids like oxycodone. Moreover, it is also related to non-prescribed opioids like fentanyl and heroin. In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies suggested more use of prescribed medicines to increase the sales of their medicines by declaring the fact that these are not harmful and addictive for the patients.

The US population started relying on prescription opioids to get relief from pain however they started experiencing their side effects. The pharmaceutical companies decide not to reveal these side effects to the doctors. This resulted in high dosages and death rates in the US. The other effect of misuse of the prescribed drug is that where these drugs do not produce the desired results, people are inclined to other opioids for example fentanyl and heroin which results in a high number of deaths.

Wrapping Up

Despite all these problems, the healthcare system in the U.S. is adopting modern technology to provide state-of-the-art medical care services to their patients. The government agencies, The Department of Health and Human Services HHS, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDS are working together to mitigate the problems of the US healthcare system and to provide the best healthcare facilities to their people. There is a high need to work on lowering the expenses of medical facilities though.