Updated: Jul 12
It's a grave mistake if you think providing healthcare coverage equates to providing quality healthcare for all. Sure, everyone gets under coverage; but does it ensure that patients get the treatment they deserve?
We have drugs being advertised on T.V. which can't be prescribed by doctors because they are too costly or not covered by the patient's insurance; the same goes for treatment and medical procedures.
Doctors are encouraged with performance-based pay, but they lack the necessary resources to deliver quality service. The USA spent $3.3 trillion on healthcare in 2016, but did it make any difference?
A government study developed by the National Research Council found that Americans die much younger than most high-income countries. On what are we spending so much money!
We have so many political interventions regarding healthcare to make it universal- Obamacare and the American Health Care Act are sadly not the right directions we are going!
So what do we need to make a universal healthcare system that benefits doctors and patients?
Universal healthcare means all aspects will be universal. But that is far removed from the truth! Let us explore why healthcare coverage for all doesn't equate to healthcare for all.
1. Not Universally Affordable
The average hospital stay in the U.S. costs three times higher than 33 other OECD countries standing at $18,000. Not every patient can pay it out of their pockets, and even the insurance policies don't cover such expenses all the time.
We need an open and competitive market that provides affordable healthcare for all.
2. Restricted Availability
In 2014 only 7.3% of Americans had access to health insurance
The situation hasn't improved much, even though we have moved towards mandatory insurance. Healthcare must be available across all geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic spectrums, making it universally accessible be universal.
3. Limited Distribution
Though the USA spends $8,508 per person, care quality is not evenly distributed across all areas and communities. It has to follow the defined standard of care and use its practical healthcare delivery resource to offer the same quality of care in metropolitan areas in regions such as the Indian reservation.
4. Lacks Universal Standard
We must develop a universal healthcare standard based on technological, medical science, and strategic advances. It should not be based on financial or socioeconomic conditions- it has to be developed based on medical advancement and success rate.
5. Not Universally Accessible
Let us not confuse availability with accessibility- you can have a world-class hospital, but patients may not be able to access it due to unnecessary processes and other restrictions.
We have to bring healthcare in the reach of each patient to reach out and get help without any delay.
6. Lacks Universal Transferability
Mandatory healthcare and coverage limit the flexibility available to patients. It becomes challenging to shift from one care model to another even when the benefits are stark. Patients and doctors should be able to choose freely based on their situation, needs, and will.
7. No Freedom to Select
The power of consumers enables them to compare, test and select a solution. The same should be applied to healthcare, and we should not be restricted to choices made by the state or other regulatory institutions.
8. The Need for Independent Healthcare System
For the healthcare system to be universal,l must be free to make its decisions. It should not be interrupted and manipulated by monopoly and corporate greed. We should also strive to keep it free from political influence and third-party profit motives, only focusing on patient and doctor interests.
9. Short of Universal Transparency
The healthcare system should be transparent with the ability to track down responsible parties. Only a transparent system can foster healthcare for all and end the need for whistleblowing, like in the case of Lexington Medical Center, which indulged in fraud.
We can achieve this transparency by entitling healthcare data only to the authorized parties.
10. Not Universally Deliverable
All industries have moved towards effective delivery of goods and services in the age of smartphones and the internet. But it does not apply to healthcare that is still far behind in delivering services effectively, remote or onsite.
11. The Need for Universal Personalization
The need for patient-centric care and personalization in healthcare has changed how the system works. Patients are aware of their needs and want in this information age, and the population-based healthcare strategy is no longer valid.
We have to rise above the perception of the 'majority and tune the healthcare service according to personal patient needs, which is impossible with a single-payer healthcare coverage "only" solution.