The debate around healthcare in the US doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down. Healthcare has been a hot button topic making headlines for quite some time now, and has been heating up recently with the GOP’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.
The one thing everyone can safely agree on is the remarkable strides made in the world of healthcare both in medicine, and technological advancements. But does everyone have access to this new age of advanced healthcare?
The answer to the question above is heavily dependent on who you ask. While everyone has the ability to purchase health insurance, for some it is not financially feasible. Before Obamacare was passed in 2010, there were an estimated 48 million Americans who were uninsured, compared to the estimated 28 million uninsured in 2016.
The Affordable Care Act aimed to provide coverage for Americans who were uninsured due to financial hardships, among other situational hardships like loss of coverage. That should have solved the healthcare debate right? Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
While those with subsidized health coverage are singing Obamacare’s praises, Americans who were left picking up the tab now find themselves paying more for health insurance than they can afford. Coupled with the controversial Individual Mandate which may require you to pay a hefty fine if you choose not to purchase health insurance, and you can begin to see why the healthcare debate is still raging on.
In terms of money spent on healthcare, the US definitely takes the cake. The US spends over $9,400 per capita, almost $3,000 more than the next nation, Switzerland. Does more money translate into better healthcare? Definitely not.
If you take a look at other developed nations, you’ll notice that the US falls short in one of the most important health indicators, life expectancy. Out of all the developed nations in the world, the US has the second lowest life expectancy at 79.3 years, only beating out China. Japan, Switzerland, and Australia round out the top as the nations with the highest life expectancy.
In terms of access to healthcare, many other developed nations have adopted a universal healthcare system, or a hybrid form of universal healthcare. Countries like Canada, Denmark, and Italy have 100% of their population covered, compared to the US where only about 85% of the population is covered.
It seems that other countries don’t mind paying the extra taxes to ensure their health is taken care of, along with the health of their fellow citizens. No healthcare system is perfect, even with Obamacare, the US healthcare system needs some kind of reform. President Obama and President Trump both agree on that, but they don’t agree on what that reform will look like. So the question remains, is it time for the US to start looking at other healthcare systems for ideas?
There are pros and cons on both sides of the healthcare debate, but regardless of which side you fall on, these are some interesting statistics about how the US measures up against other developed nations of the world.