The United States has the best health care in the world. This is what we hear at any rate, and it seems logical. It's one of the wealthiest and most technologically advanced countries in the world. People come from all over to seek medical attention in the United States. It stands to reason that our health care system must come out at or near the top.
Yet study after study shows that this is not the case. A recent study compiling information from the World Health Organization and other organizations found that among 17 nations considered affluent, the health of American citizens ranked dead last. What makes things worse, however, is that it's not just rising rates of obesity and the unhealthy lifestyles of Americans that include too much processed food and stress and not enough exercise. It seems that our system of health care itself must come under indictment as well.
Despite these studies, the argument over how to fix health care in America shows no sign of abating. Many people simply do not feel that a problem exists in the first place. Others argue that health care is accessible for anyone who truly needs it through our emergency system although this mostly speaks only to acute health problems and does not adequately address chronic illness or diseases requiring expensive prescriptions or treatments. Some simply feel that the problem is not that great; people with stable employment tend to have health insurance through their jobs, and states have systems in place like Medicare and Medicaid to help the elderly and indigent. However, there's also evidence that the majority of bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical bills. Moreover, most of those bankruptcies are filed by people who had good jobs and medical insurance.
Clearly, something has gone wrong, and people are not getting affordable access to the care they need. What are some of the reasons our system is in such trouble? Can anything be done to improve it? Just how much money are we shelling out for this substandard system of ours anyway?