During medical school interviews (or during secondary applications of students), medical school applicants can be prompted to shed light on the current state of the American health care system. Such a question can be asked in different ways.
A lot of medical schools (even a top-notch Caribbean medical university school of medicine) ask both prospective and existing students what they think of healthcare systems across the Americas (and comparing the American healthcare system with the Canadian one). Despite having regard as one of the best healthcare systems in the world, the U.S healthcare system is facing challenges.
A lot of medical students are thus asked how they can add value to the U.S Healthcare system and what improvements can they propose?
In order to answer these kinds of questions, it is imperative to have a basic understanding of the key challenges affecting the healthcare system of the United States. Some experts can disagree about the issues present while some experts can agree and some are neutral.
However, all do say that challenges can arise and improvements can be made. Here are some challenges the American healthcare system is facing:
- The United States health care is quite expensive when compared to Europe but affordable than Canada.
- Prices need to translate to better care for the disadvantaged.
- Disparities are being reduced but more needs to be done.
- Primary care should be robust.
Healthcare of the United States needs to be a bit more affordable
In comparison to other developed nations, the United States of America spends substantially more amount of its GDP on health care and in 2017, it spent more than 17% on it. This is considerably higher than France (11.3%), Italy (8.8%) and the United Kingdom (9.6%) spend often. This information was provided by the World Bank Country Health Expenditure database.
The expenditure information is somehow disputed by some experts in the United States. Recent analysis reveals that a lot of people in America have paid a lot more for medicine in comparison to other developed countries. However, improvements have been made.
The expenditures of drugs have reduced slightly but need more reduction as well. Though Europeans spend less on drugs and so do Latin Americans, the quality of medicinal drugs in the United States is original and what Latin Americans buy in their home nations are somehow copies of these drugs.
Drug expenditures for Americans are still high. The goal that still remains is to ensure working-class and middle-class Americans do not face pricing hurdles in purchasing medicinal drugs. The U.S healthcare system spends substantially more on healthcare administrative costs.
Another factor contributing to this that Americans order more tests (MRIs, CT scans) in order to others in other developed nations. Experts are of the view that one influential factor in the United States is the practice of defensive Pre medical courses.
Defensive medicine refers to the idea that physicians order diagnostic tests that may not be necessary. They do so due to a note of caution, to ensure no stone is left unturned and averting possible lawsuits.
Healthcare in the United States is still more expensive in comparison to other industrialized nations. Yet, it is making improvements. With healthcare being a finite resource, the price tag shouldn’t be necessarily European but somehow should be reachable.
Prices need to translate to better care for the disadvantaged
Despite the higher spending on healthcare, the United States needs to achieve a lot more. Though results among upper, upper-middle, and middle-income strata in terms of healthcare have been exceptional, the working class and lower class in the United States need to get the benefit too.
Critics of this fact argue that Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom deliver higher results because their population is lower than that of the United States. Keeping this fact in mind, United States healthcare still performs better than most third world nations and that improvements are coming.
Disparities are being reduced but more needs to be done.
The wide gap in the level and quality of care among different segments of the population is still in existence. Though improvements are being made and the United States Healthcare system has been on an upward trajectory in comparison to the Caribbean and Latin American economies, medical care needs to deliver more tactful outcomes.
Certain underprivileged communities have a lower chance of survival and a higher chance of disease due to excessive consumption of junk food and the like. This is evident amongst lower and lower-middle-income African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics. South Asians are exempt as well as certain Hispanic ethnicities due to a culture of ‘Slow food’ and home cooking. The same goes for Caucasians.