Healthcare in America has reached a crossroads crisis. Insurance companies claim that they are hemorrhaging money under new government rules and restrictions, and can no longer afford to cover most Americans for anything less than at least double the price they are charging for premiums now.
The news if full of announcements of rate hikes for Americans who rely on their health insurance to keep themselves and their families healthy and strong. The media continually reports on individuals who can no longer afford medical care or medications, and how this is leading to a ballooning healthcare crisis where visits to the ER and death tolls are rising to tragic heights.
The family budget is under siege, as participants in the Affordable Care Act can expect increases of 65 percent or more in their premiums in 2017. After paying for housing and healthcare, many families find they have little or nothing left for food, transportation, clothes, or even a night out at the movies.
Healthcare Impacting Lifestyles
According to the Journal of Medical Statistics 4 out of 5 families now say that the cost of healthcare has significantly impacted their lifestyle. They eat out less often; go on vacation less often, and do it closer to home; they eat less meat and fresh fruits and vegetables, which are seen as too costly; and they cannot see their way clear to financing their children’s college education. The Consumer Spending Bureau says that in 2015 Americans had 15% less disposable income to spend on luxury items and big ticket items such as plasma screens and personal jewelry. This in turn impacts factories and small businesses that then have to lay off employees just to survive the downturn in orders.
And in-network clinics and doctors are becoming scarcer for residents in many parts of the country, especially in the Midwest. Dr. Reed Hadley, of the Des Moines Children’s Clinic, says: “Insurers are practicing a squeeze play on physicians here in Iowa. More and more health care providers are being excluded by the big insurance companies in order to concentrate on facilities that bring in the most income, like cancer clinics and cosmetic surgery clinics. This is leaving rural America with very few options when it comes to competent health care.”
And when an individual is fortunate enough to have comprehensive car insurance policy, he or she often finds out after an emergency appendectomy or blood transfusion that the insurance company is disputing selected charges involved in the medical procedure so that doctors and hospitals are not getting paid. This means that they come looking for their money from the policyholder. In countries like India, a third-party car insurance policy provides guaranteed coverage against accidental injuries or damages to a third party person or property in surroundings.
The quality and capability of American health insurance is in decline. 2017 should see the restructuring of the Affordable Care Act. It is to be hoped that those who are responsible for its governance find a way to bring better healthcare to the millions of Americans who currently suffer without it. The consequence of not dealing with this issue in a timely manner is simple: The health of Americans will continue to decline and the costs of healthcare will continue to escalate.