America's Broken Healthcare System

The American Healthcare system is broken. It doesn’t work for American citizens and it doesn’t work for the healthcare providers. The problem is that our healthcare is driven and dictated by private insurance companies. This isn’t my opinion and I’m not taking a political stance by saying this.

Let’s break this down, starting with the patient’s view. If you’ve been online, you’ve probably seen the posts about fundraisers being held to help with a friend’s medical expenses. I can’t count the number of patient’s that I’ve personally spoken to, who’ve been denied treatment or medications because of their insurance company refusing to cover them. In one case specifically, the health insurance company refused to cover a particular cancer medication which was recommended by the American Cancer Society. This led to another treatment being pursued, and unfortunately she lost 90% of the feeling in both hands and feet, and was unable to stand or walk for nearly a year, as a direct result of the medication.

If you’ve ever been in the ER or been hospitalized for any length of time, you will likely receive a bill for thousands, if not tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars (for the uninsured). The cost of healthcare in the US is exponentially higher than in other countries and its not your doctors fault. Health insurance companies reduce what they are willing to pay on a regular basis, resulting in hospitals and clinics raising their prices in order to receive the same amount of money. This results in the ratcheting up of healthcare costs.

Is universal healthcare the answer? Its hard to say, but the US is one of the only developed countries in the world who have not adapted this system. Its not as if the increased costs are improving the quality of care. As a matter of fact, the US ranks at the 37th most efficient healthcare system in the world, according to the World Health Organization. In short, you’re paying more and getting less. Note: France ranked number 1 in the same report.

Its not any better from the perspective of the healthcare provider. Your doctor is required to see more patients and make less money. They can recommend the best treatment but this is often not what’s received by the patient due to insurance coverage. In physical therapy clinics across the country, patients are being seen for 30 minutes, rather than 60 minutes. Also, you may be seen alongside several other patients. This isn’t the fault of the PT, but is a direct result of reduced reimbursement from insurance companies. If you’ve ever had physical therapy, you know that you get a maximum number of visits. What you don’t know is that your PT is limited in what they can do during those sessions because of what the insurance company will and won’t cover.

Its a broken system and the only side winning is that of the private insurance companies. This isn’t a democratic or republican viewpoint. Talk to your friends and family and they will express to you their distaste for the current system, whether as a patient or a provider. I believe that we will see some expanded version of Medicare in the future. Medicare, at its core, is a socialist healthcare system, run by our government. Its also one of the best insurance providers in our country. We will certainly see changes in the healthcare system over the next few decades and I, for one, am anxiously waiting for a system that encourages better care and less financial insult on patients who are already going through a difficult time.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Cameron Dennis, PT, DPT

Back on Track Therapy and Wellness

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