Healthcare is the top issue Americans want Donald Trump to address during his first 100 days in the White House, according to a recent poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos, reflecting apparent dissatisfaction over rising costs for prescription drugs and medical insurance.
The current healthcare system “Obamacare” was passed in 2010, intended to increase health insurance quality and affordability, lower the uninsured rate by expanding coverage, and decrease the cost of healthcare.
On his website, Trump’s presidential plans for the American healthcare system were clearly outlined, to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.
“We will work with Congress to make sure we have a series of reforms ready for implementation that follow free market principles and that will restore economic freedom and certainty to everyone in this country. By following free market principles and working together to create sound public policy that will broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans,” states Trump’s website.
However, since he was elected, Mr. Trump has since appeared to compromise on this pledge, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, telling the paper he was reconsidering his stance following a meeting with Obama, who urged him to protect parts of the law. Specifically, Mr. Trump said that he would like to keep the provision forbidding discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and allow young Americans to remain on their parents’ healthcare plans until the age of 26.
The percentage of Americans that do not have health insurance now sits at 8.6 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also, the percentage of uninsured people between 19-65 years old was 20 percent in Sept. 2012, which decreased to
13 percent in March-May 2015 thanks to Obamacare. Although this is an improvement, there is still clearly more to be done.
According to statistics published by The Kaiser Foundation, there are several reasons why there are still so many people uninsured in the U.S., the primary reason being the cost. Financial assistance is available yet not everyone is eligible for subsidized coverage. Additionally, not all workers have access to coverage through their employment. There are many students who remain uninsured as they cannot afford expensive college healthcare plans.
There are many differences between healthcare in the U.S. and the rest of the world, according to International Living. In most of the rest of the world, healthcare prices are decided by the government. The rate of suing is much lower as suing someone can take years, and judges have no incentive to award money, as International Living reported. So malpractice insurance is low, as are doctors’ and health workers’ fees and hospital and clinic charges- and it is the public that reaps these rewards. As the cost of living, housing and taxes are much lower in different countries around the world, the healthcare costs remain relative to this.
In contrast, costs for medical care are still high in the U.S. A recent survey on MSN reported that a single day in hospital costs, on average $1,514, whilst in France it costs $853. Similarly, a routine visit to the doctor costs an average of $95, whereas in France it is $30.
The healthcare system is different in the United Kingdom, where citizens have access to the National Health Service (NHS). This is a largely free healthcare system for those who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. However, treatment in emergency departments and for certain contagious diseases is also free to visitors and illegal immigrants. The cost of prescription medications is cheap, and in some places in the UK, such as Northern Ireland, prescriptions are free. Although this sounds like an ideal system, individuals are subject to long
waiting times and the system has been under immense pressure due to a lack of government funding.
Michael Adamson, a senior at Saint Leo majoring in Healthcare Management, believes that there are benefits to the American healthcare system.
“I think the American Healthcare system is good but can definitely be improved. Too many people still do not have good enough access to adequate healthcare. Insurance rates are unaffordable and students rely either on their parents or on their job for health insurance,” said Adamson.
From a student viewpoint, he also believes that healthcare reform can bring a lot of benefits.
“Changing the system I believe can reduce the number of uninsured adults. Making healthcare and insurance more affordable would allow for more people to have coverage and not worry about getting sick or paying for hospital bills out of pocket. It would also make it easier for younger adults to be able to access healthcare,” added Adamson.
The U.S. has a long way to go until they have a system where everyone is insured. There is much debate about what the ideal healthcare system looks like; however, it will be very interesting to see what happens in the United States following the election of Mr. Trump.