The Scare of Medical Debt
Many people in the United States accumulate thousands of dollars of medical debt. According to CNBC.com, 137 million Americans struggle with medical bills with 66.5% leading to personal bankruptcy. One of the reasons for medical debt is the lack of transparency of between the consumer and the insurance companies. As stated by Conversation.com, insurance companies control procedure prices, length of hospital stay, home medical care, and the prices of medical items that a patient might need. In order for the consumer to assess the “correct” price of the product, Americans must jump from insurance plan to insurance plan. Most Americans do not have that luxury due to their occupation and their current financial standing.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) attempted Universal Healthcare by penalizing those who don’t have insurance. The problem with Obamacare is that the plan assumes that Americans simply choose not to have healthcare, not because of financial standing. The penalty for not obtaining insurance is $695 per adult or 2.5% of household income. However, despite the high cost of the penalty, Obamacare packages still cost more than the penalty. Many Americans choose to pay the penalty over the healthcare packages because having no insurance is still cheaper than having insurance. Therefore, Americans do not reap the reward of any medical insurance despite paying money.
Proposed Healthcare Solutions
A solution to combat rising medical cost is to treat healthcare pricing like a shopping cart. Healthcare Bluebook encourages consumers to analyze healthcare providers and procedures by comparing prices in the consumer’s local area. They call price transparency- “fair price”, which means the normal cost of the procedure in today’s economic environment. The issue, with this site, is that the company doesn’t take into account medical insurance. Many of the “cheap” procedures require the consumer to pay out-of-pocket before the procedure.
Starting January 2021, the Trump administration will require that healthcare providers show their prices so that Americans can pick their providers and procedures like an object in a grocery store. Healthcare providers will then be subjected to the free market, where prices change due to supply and demand. The projected downfall of medical debt is still yet to be researched.
The concept of healthcare policies is like a complicated spider web. Americans must research the problem with medical insurance and vote accordingly in the next election.
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