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Financial Exploitation in the US Healthcare System

What is the purpose of healthcare? What was it intended for? Do you think that early colonists intended to create the absolutely unfair healthcare model that we have in the US right now when they simply helped their family members and worked together to create the first US hospital in Philadelphia? No, they didn’t. Back then, the purpose of healthcare was to help others and keep them alive. Now, however, healthcare in the US has evolved into a business rather than a service with incentives to exploit the system in order to gain more financial power.


Only 10% of eligible Americans buy their own health insurance directly. This is called the "individual market." The other 90% don’t choose their health insurance on their own and don’t even pay for it directly. This is known as fourth-party insurance, and it leaves the customer very disconnected from their insurance. This results in a very questionable approach from the insurer that results in a very ambiguous bill for the customer that makes it very difficult to track how the services they received link to certain expenses. This is very bad because healthcare tends to rely on the fact that a service is being provided and the goal is to keep costs in check easily. However, the people higher up in the healthcare industry have no intention of providing fair services, and instead, these days tend to be more focused on exploiting it for money. One example of this is when insurers use “one size fits all” plans, not allowing the customer to select a plan that fits their needs.


Income is strongly linked to mortality across the income distribution, and the number of income-related health problems is increasing over time. The sad thing about this is that poor health tends to be a catalyst for low income and vice versa. This creates a negative feedback loop that is very hard to break out of. Income inequality is only getting worse because of the US’s current state, which spurs health disparities. Fortunately, there are some policy initiatives that help the impoverished with things like education and shelter, and they tend to have very positive effects that trickle down to everyone.


In our current situation with COVID-19, there are also examples of the US healthcare system’s flaws. The group of people who are suffering most from the virus or think they need medical attention or help cannot afford it. There is a group of over 70 million people in the US who have either no healthcare insurance or have very minimal coverage that will not suffice for the majority of cases.

There are a variety of problems in our healthcare system, but it is up to us as the next generation to make an effort to fix them.

By Dhruv Balaji


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