The prevailing healthcare system in the United States has drawn many criticisms – from healthcare professionals and citizens alike. The American system fares badly compared to nationalized public health systems of Western Europe. Even in terms of overall costs, the American model is more expensive, which is significantly inflated by bureaucracy costs. All comparative evidence points in one direction – that the country would benefit through an overhaul of the healthcare system. Single payer and universal insurance coverage are the cornerstones of the optimal system. Posing hurdles for this noble objective are vested private interests in the form of private insurance companies, ideologically entrenched politicians and to a lesser extent, healthcare providers.
Why is the article relevant to our course discussions on the U.S. Healthcare system?
The issue of healthcare is a pressing social problem in the United States. All healthcare practitioners, hospitals, policymakers and the citizens all have a stake in the healthcare system. Of all these stakeholders it is the citizens who end up getting a raw deal. In fact, despite being the richest country in the world, the United States has close to 50 million of its citizens uninsured. That is nearly one out of six people in the country cannot even get access to basic healthcare if they fall ill. If any member of this group is unfortunate enough to get a grave malady, his/her chances of survival itself are very low. This situation bespeaks of various vested interests acting upon the healthcare system. There are so many profit-oriented parties at various stages of healthcare delivery that only the well-to-do can never worry about healthcare costs. Considering that documented American population is now nearly 300 million and there are millions who are illegal immigrants, there is much at stake for the continued cohesion of American society. This makes the research paper by Marleise Rashford very relevant for all stakeholders, especially students of health sciences.
The article is relevant to course discussions for other reasons as well. For example, the wide coverage given within the article – which is organized under various subheadings – makes it an overview of the current healthcare situation in America. Students can refer it to get a concise yet precise picture of core problems and factors bearing upon the healthcare system.