12 reasons why healthcare coverage for all does not mean healthcare for all or “universal healthcare “
It’s a grave mistake if you think providing healthcare coverage to all equates to providing quality healthcare for all. Sure, everyone gets under coverage; but does it ensure that they get the treatment they deserve?
We have drugs being advertised on the TV which can’t be prescribed by doctors because they are too costly or not covered by the patient insurance; the same goes for treatment and medical procedures.
Doctors are being encouraged with performance based pays but they lack the necessary resources to deliver quality service. 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 American die at much younger ages compared to most other high income countries. What are we spending so much money on!
We have so many political interventions regarding healthcare in a bid to make it universal- the Obamacare and the American Health Care Act are sadly not the right direction we are going!
So what do we need to make a universal healthcare system that benefits both 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 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 which results in affordable healthcare for all.
2. Restricted Availability
In 2014 only 7.3% Americans had access to health insurance
The situation hasn’t improved much even though we have moved towards mandatory insurance. To be universal healthcare has to be available across all geographic, demographic and socioeconomic spectrums making it universally accessible.
3. Limited Distribution
Though USA spends $8,508 per person, the quality is care is not evenly distributed across all areas and communities. It has to follow the defined standard of care and use its effective healthcare delivery resource to offer the same quality of care provided in metropolitan areas in regions such as Indian reservation.
4. Lacks Universal Standard
We have to come up with a universal standard of healthcare based on technological, medical science and strategic advances. It should not be biased on the basis of 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 and every patient so that they can reach out and get help without any delay.
6. Lacks Universal Transferability
Mandatory healthcare and coverage limits the flexibility available to patients. It becomes difficult 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 applicable to healthcare and we should not be restricted to choices made by the state or other regulatory institutions.
8. The Need of Independent Healthcare System
To be universal the healthcare system must be free to make its decisions. It should not be interrupted and manipulated by the 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 bring an end to the need of whistle blowing like in the case of Lexington Medical Center who indulged in fraud.
We can achieve this transparency by entitling healthcare data only to the authorized parties.
10. Not Universally Deliverable
All industries have been able to move towards effective delivery of goods and services in the age of smartphones and internet. But it is not applicable to healthcare which is still far behind in delivering services effectively whether remote or onsite.
11. The Need of Universal Personalization
The need of patient centric care and personalization in healthcare has changed how the system works. Patients are aware of their needs and wants in this age of information and the population based healthcare strategy is not useful anymore.
We have to rise above the perception of ‘majority’ and tune the healthcare service according to personal patient needs- something which is not possible with a single payer healthcare coverage “only” solution.
12. Away from Universal Authentication
Patients and doctors should be able to control and manage their own data. They can share the information as they please for effective authentication. This should be the case with every stakeholder in the system.
We can only achieve universal healthcare with an open mind in a free and open market where prices are determined by market forces. The state cannot dictate healthy people to pay for sick people by mandating coverage and taxes.
Health is an individual right and we need to be able to choose freely as a universal system implies.