Current state of the American healthcare system - why exorbitant spending results in low international health rankings and how to ameliorate this paradox
The United States spends more than any other nation on healthcare by an exceedingly significant amount. The United States also ranks very poorly on health outcomes when compared to other economically developed nations. The reason why the United States spends so much more than other nations is because they spend more in all categories of healthcare. Hospital admissions and overnight stays are more expensive, medical staff salaries are higher than in other nations, procedures and treatments are ordered more frequently and cost more than in other nations, prescription drugs prices are multiple times greater in the U.S., the multi-payer private and public insurance payment schemes are time consuming and complex, and administrative costs are significantly higher in the U.S. than in other countries. These complexities and high costs create inefficiencies in America's healthcare system that can interfere with the quality of care provided. The major reasons why the United States is lacking in health outcome rankings can be attributed to an underdeveloped primary care sector and an underfunded social services sector, which make it difficult to coordinate care and practice preventative medicine. America's history of uninsured citizens lacked access to care so the U.S. saw repeats of emergency admissions and expensive hospitalizations for chronic conditions. These problems are preventable with a more robust primary care sector, increased access to care, and advocating public health awareness. Current reforms such as the Affordable Care Act are making strides in the positive direction by creating Accountable Care Organizations, increasing access to care, and regulating an online insurance marketplace. However, continued research and assessments of these new methods of delivering care are necessary in the near future to see if pilot studies can be scaled up on a national level.