There is often a myth in the United States that if one works hard enough, a shield from difficulties will appear. For most people, that would be more money, which in turn would allow more time. Unfortunately, the rise of technology only made wealthy people insatiably greedier, which is causing a series of health problems among the rest of the populace. Moreover, thanks to that greed, barriers are constantly getting placed between people and healthcare that are costing more to overcome.
Some people were really excited about the Affordable Care Act while others were disgusted. After campaigning on universal healthcare, we all watched in horror as these greedy Congressmembers–funded by insurance companies–turned our health into a money machine. More doctors were supposed to be available and preventative care was supposed to explode. Instead, more practitioners are leaving medical practice indefinitely and preventative care will become all but nonexistent.
The first step in treating any ailment is diagnosis, and for diagnosis, a practitioner has to be available. While more people would see nurses and physician assistants if there was more education about what they do, most people are pushing to be seen by a doctor. Therefore, when any doctor exists, the healthcare system requires that doctor to see as many people as possible. Also, testing may be required to confirm the diagnosis.What if a more complicated problem exists? Well, not only does one have to see a specialist, one has to be referred by their primary care doctor to the next physician. Already, two doctors have to be available to see an individual in a system that pushes doctors to see as many patients as possible.
Even with the logistics involved in that process, no one has brought up money, and believe it or not, none of these visits are free. Maybe the insurance one has is accepted by the doctor, and maybe a physical is covered, and no co-pay is required. However, if testing is required, that could be a a completely different appointment, and depending on coverage, a new co-pay. If the testing was inconclusive, more testing is required, so yet another co-pay and another visit.
Many serious problems involve referrals, which is why so many physicians consider specialties. Often, specialists are backlogged for months. Because the office is different from the primary care doctor, a patient cannot be sure how much a visit costs, and could completely abandon care after being told the price of a visit. This is how so many people die of preventative ailments in one of the richest countries in the world.
Despite the cutely deceptive name of “co-pay,” everyone has been given a firsthand glimpse of what it means to privatize a system. No one is truly “sharing” a cost because the real cost is hidden. Thus, there is a nation full of sick people who cannot afford the circuitous route of figuring out how to stay healthy since there is no satisfaction for the wealthy.