No matter how thick and rose-tinted your contact lenses may be, the healthcare system in America is totally ridiculous and borderline bonkers.
You’ll know this if you’ve ever had to fork out $7,000-plus to get a temporary cast put on your arm because you sneezed while on your kids trampoline and landed awkwardly, or pay $4,000 for stitches because you were trying to impress a girl by trying to bunny hop over a venti iced skinny hazelnut macchiato with sugar-free syrup, an extra shot, light ice and no whip while riding a micro-scooter.
However, chances are, you only know this system as ridiculously expensive without knowing the reasons why. Not that it is going to make you feel any better. Everyone loves sausages but no one wants to know how they are made, right?
Anyway, we’re not going to educate you on that, per se. Instead, what we’re going to do is highlight the most ridiculous (read: huuuugely problematic) areas that no one ever told you about so that you can become that wise barstool prophet the next time you want to drink slightly too much at a bar, determined to right the world (by which we mean America The Great) of all its wrongs.
Americans get penalized when people aren’t insured
In America, you pretty much have to have health insurance. This is because the costs of healthcare are so darn high. Yes, you could go down the crowdfunding route the next time you get hit by a car, or you could explore more options, such as getting a cash loan, but insurance is your best bet.
Thank God we have the Affordable Care Act (for now) so that people can get treated in hospitals without having to sell their youngest child’s kidneys just to pay for it. Of course, there are two sides to every coin, which is premiums have gone up to account for all the other sick people suddenly receiving insurance cover. Trust us, though, this is a way better alternative than the years before Obamacare when a pretty solid $42 billion in healthcare costs weren’t paid; a figure that was passed on to those who did have insurance.
So, for all those that want to grab their pitchforks and start attacking the ACA, you’ll go back to paying the medical bills of uninsured Americans – and immigrants – which translates to an average of $1,071 more each year.
No one tracks the success of medical procedures
That is totally bonkers, huh. I mean, in this day and age, where data counts for so much and accountability are so rife and people are crying out for success stories as a means to break up the constant din of doom and gloom, you would think the healthcare industry would concern themselves with follow-ups and seeing whether surgeries were effective.
But it doesn’t.
What does this mean in Layman’s terms? Well, it means doctors have a tough time finding any data that explores the long-term effects of surgeries, which is a risk, a waste of time and thus another example of why health care costs are so high.
Not just that, but all these doctors performing seriously tough operations and transplants have no way of actually knowing whether or not their skills are even helping people, or whether they are in fact anonymous serial killers that will be scorned by historians forever.
To give you some insight as to how bad it is, we read a study by the BMJ that believes medical error could be the third-biggest cause of death. Wow.
The cost of drugs is horrendously high
Remember the name Martin Shkreli? He was that – insert bad word here – who told the world he was being great by jacking up the price of a toxoplasmosis drug by over 5500%. That’s quite a lot. What’s worse is, he then dropped millions of dollars on a (fake, hahaha) Wu-Tang Clan album.
Here is the worst of the worst part, though: we only know about his money-obsession and lack of human respect because he loves attention.
That means there are loads more people like him who are also inflating the costs of lifesaving drugs. In fact, the drug-price problem has gotten so bad that even politicians are now bringing it to people’s attention without worrying about where their future campaign money is going to come from.
Actually, wait, we haven’t got to the worst part because it isn’t just consumers and patients that are feeling the heat when it comes to prices, but the hospitals themselves too.
You see, when a doctor comes to prescribe you some medicine these days, they will get an alert regarding the cost of a medicine deemed too expensive to prescribe willy-nilly, even though that medicine is going to be the most effective. Doctors are having to think twice or thrice about the best drug for the job because of the cost; now that is outrageous.
Absolutely everything costs more
You know those little papery pill pots you get given (the ones that look remarkably similar to a McDonald’s ketchup holder), well you can buy 250 of them on a reputable website like Amazon for about $5. In a hospital, however, you’re looking at about $12 for one, which is a small increase of, oh I don’t know, 60,000 percent. And that’s just the paper pill cups. Imagine all the other things that get a price hike. A finger prick, a blanket, stitches, the bag that holds your IV fluid, wet wipes and everything else that makes its way into the door of a hospital.
Basically, the world of American hospitals is absurdly expensive. More than anywhere else on earth.
In fact, the next time you break a leg or suffer a wound, you may want to drag yourself to your laptop, book a flight to Canada on Skyscanner, grab an Uber to the airport, book a hotel while you’re up there and just get whatever medical assistance you need doing on the other side of the border. It will be a whole lot cheaper.