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  • Writer's picturekayleyball

Why are we Paying So Much for Healthcare?

While trying to combat healthcare disparities, it is first important to understand the roots of this prevalent societal problem. That is, healthcare is extraordinarily expensive for so many people in the United States and other locations. For the purposes of this article's however, I will be primarily focusing on healthcare shortcomings in the United States. Compared to other countries, American healthcare costs are up to 1/3 more expensive than healthcare costs in other countries, speaking relatively and in terms of the size of the economy, and these incredible costs ar only growing as society progresses. Additionally, the average American family of four will spend around $28,000 in healthcare expenditures every year. That's not even counting additional medical costs that could arise from an emergency medical situation, etc. And it's just the cost of ONE family's healthcare. It is easy to see how this already large number could add up rather quickly, especially when healthcare costs are being considered on a larger scale and more families are being taken into account. The extremely high costs that healthcare demands are hard to meet or even impossible for many families all over the world, and, to me, these costs are an issue that need to be addressed and understood. When looking at this problem, one big question arises: why is healthcare so inherently expensive in the first place?

A key contributor to the high cost of healthcare in the US is the large amount spent on buying drugs. In the United States, we tend to overspend on drugs and medications because we have complete spending freedom in that regard: meaning, the government is not closely monitoring how much American money is being used to buy and sell medication. In other locations, such as many countries in Europe, drug prices and money the countries are allowed to spend on drugs are regulated by the government, meaning they have a line that they must not cross. Because the United States is not granted such boundaries, the country often spends much more money than its European counterparts A 2020 article entitled "6 Reasons why Healthcare is so Expensive in the US" focuses on this very idea. The article states: "With little regulation of drug prices, the US spends an average of $1,443 per person, compared to $749, on average, spent by other prosperous [European] countries..." Because the United States is investing more money into medication, narcotics, etc., they require more expensive healthcare costs in order to compensate for this financial deficit.

A second underlying factor as to why US healthcare is so costly goes back to the large salaries that doctors and nurses are accumulating each year. According to the same article mentioned previously, medical specialists are making significantly more money than specialists in other countries who possess the same job and do virtually the same amount of work, etc. The article states, "the average US family doctor earns $218,173 a year, and specialists make [an average of] $316,000- way above the average in other industrialized countries. American nurses make considerably more than elsewhere, too. The average salary for a US nurse is about $74,250- compared to $58,041 in Switzerland and $60,253 in the Netherlands." Because of this, the United States requires more money to be filtered into the hospital systems so that doctors and nurses can afford to be given such large salaries.

Mentioned above are just two of the many reasons why people in the United States are forced to struggle against detrimentally expensive healthcare costs. This is an important issue in the United States and other places that deserve to be fought against. The true is, high healthcare costs affect everyone, directly or indirectly. Just because you yourself may be healthy, chances are one of your friends or family members who is in need of medical treatment doesn't have the means to receive it. Every individual, family, etc. deserves to have access to affordable medical help when need be. Whether everyone should have access to such healthcare opportunities should never be a political debate. I truly hope that the United States can reach a time where healthcare costs are not crippling to so many people and that help can be offered equally across the board.



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