The United States is one of the richest countries on this planet. Compared to other developed countries, one of the biggest things that set the U.S. apart from the others is the health care system. The majority of people living in the U.S are covered by a private insurance company paired with several programs run by the government. Other countries like Canada and the United Kingdom use the Universal Healthcare system as their method to provide medical services to its people.
Without diving too deep right off the bat, Universal Health Care ensures little to no cost for its users. While using private insurance, the most common, the company can charge immense amounts. Universal Healthcare is quite the opposite and will cover most, if not all of the costs. Information published by The Commonwealth Fund states that 72 million people in the U.S. either have medical bill problems or are paying off medical debt acquired. The United States needs to adopt the Universal Healthcare system to create a better way of life for many of its citizens.
The start of Wanda Wickizer’s nightmare happened on December twenty-fifth, 2013. Unexpectedly Wanda started to vomit and experience dreadful headaches. Fighting her teenage son, he called emergency services to seek help for his mother. The paramedics arrived at their home and diagnosed her with food poisoning. A few hours later, three in the morning she was rushed to the hospital by her now-husband. Doctors completed many tests and discovered Wanda had a subarachnoid hemorrhage in her brain.
Meaning she was bleeding in her brain and her life was in extreme danger. The hospital she was currently at could not treat her for the hemorrhage and was forced to be airlifted to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, 160 miles away from where she was. After three weeks of being in the Intensive Care Unit, Wanda Wickizer left the hospital alive and on the road to recovery. Creating one of the most traumatic events their family has experienced, they were ready to relax and go back to normal. Little did Wanda know, this was not the end of her fight.
Wanda’s husband who passed away in 2006 worked for the city, earning health insurance for the whole family. Three years after his passing the insurance was ended and Wanda was sucked trying to keep two boys healthy along with herself. Wanda worked a few low wage jobs where healthcare was not offered. While she was searching for insurance, she was placed in a “high-risk pool”, meaning she would pay a very high amount to receive coverage.
Having a minor preexisting health condition dealing with depression put her in that category. Wanda would have needed to pay 800 dollars a month paired with a 5,000 dollar deductible and 80 percent would be covered from her medical procedures. The decision was made that she and her two boys would go uninsured because of the cost. A far too common occurrence that is being seen in the country.
Fast forward to when Wanda arrived home after her time at the hospital. She was met with a few bills that put pressure on this mother of two. 16,000 dollars for the visit to the first hospital, 50,000 dollars for the helicopter transport, and then 27,000 dollars from the second hospital she was at. A month later, a bill for 54,000 dollars arrived, followed by a bill for 356,884.42 dollars.
Wanda did not have enough money to cover these bills that kept on coming. Trying to contact and plead with the hospitals came up with no luck, even offing up her retirement savings. After a few years of fighting, Wanda crossed the finish line, ending her marathon of survival with the hospitals. Having years of stress and uncertainty took a toll on her, but Wanda kept her head up and is now continuing living life with her two boys. Not often is a happy ending reached.
Healthcare in the United States has many faces to it and can be extremely complicated at times. Looking at the start of America’s history, healthcare was generally given by the wives and mothers in the house with the occasional visit by the house doctor. Medicine took huge strides in the late 1700’s as medical colleges were being set up and giving doctors a respected name for themselves. Once the U.S. hit the industrial revolution, change started to arise. Reported by Ballotpedia, one of the expert sites in the history of healthcare, “As medicine grew more professionalized, private health insurance pools were established, and employers and unions began offering some medical benefits to workers.”.
With medical technology advancings yearly, businesses began to use healthcare as bait to lure in employees. This was the start of our healthcare system the US has in place, using employers for group contracts and privatized health companies, paired with government programs. Private insurance companies were being made as more and more employers were creating benefits for their employees to fulfill their demands. Many government programs started to be created in the late 19th century.
As the years passed, the programs created were tweaked by presidents allowing it to change with the times, but generally stayed the same. Two major programs are Medicare and Medicaid. According to its very own website, Medicare.gov, it states “People who are 65 or older. Certain younger people with disabilities. People with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure). Labeled Part A, B, and D: Medicare allows for hospital visits, prescription drugs, and medical insurance.” Most recently in the United States, the Affordable Care Act was a significant program created in the health insurance world. Also reported by their official website they describe the program as having three goals;
“Make affordable health insurance available to more people. The law provides consumers with subsidies (“premium tax credits”) that lower costs for households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. Expand the Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level. (Not all states have expanded their Medicaid programs.) Support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of health care generally.”
In sum, these programs are here to help, using federal funds to ensure the health of its citizens. They provide insurance rates that many can afford and utilize. The problem with these programs is if one doesn’t qualify, they are left on their own. Resulting in not having or in need of finding insurance in the private sector.
Although our current healthcare is great for the American economy, from hospitals and insurance companies, Healthcare is a right and not something people can capitalize on. Universal Health Care would save the lives of many people and improve their way of life. Throughout time, we have had many advancements and life is becoming better in many cases. One thing that would make our country better is implementing Universal Healthcare.
Ensuring that people won’t have financial problems after medical issues would, in turn, lower healthcare costs, save the 56 million Americans struggling to pay and most importantly, help our country for the greater good. It is important that we value health and way of life in our country over the economic benefits of private sector insurance and medical agencies. What if the problems Wanda Wickzer faced never had the chance of happening? Would Wanda and her family life for the better? Universal Healthcare as a whole is proven and is the answer and the best course of action.