Health inequalities are rampant in every country, and the U.S is no different. There are several factors that cause this unfortunate disparity in healthcare facilities;
- Income level
- Social Status
- Employment Status
- Ethnicity and Gender
Where access to quality healthcare is a basic right, this is a serious situation that requires attention and practical solutions. It appears as though socio-economic positions are creating serious health inequalities across the country.
To discuss this in further detail, we brought in the experts;
Janet Coleman is a certified health expert based in Colorado who writes content based on the health and wellness of the people at TheConsumerMag.com. According to Janet…
It is not uncommon to hear about people that are not able to get the medical care that they need. There are lots of factors that contribute to this problem, but one of the most common reasons is financial instability.
One of the main causes of health inequality in the US is the lack of money. In most cases, people who have a lower economic status can’t afford proper medical care. For example, they might have to buy medicine from a third-party retailer because it is too expensive from a pharmacy. In order to solve this issue, we have to find ways for people with low incomes or no insurance to be able to get access and afford medical treatment. One way would be through a universal healthcare system where everyone pays into a government-controlled health insurance fund and can use it.
Katie Hodge is the digital marketing expert & Content Director at Generator Magazine. According to Katie…
Health inequalities have become a common discussion in the United States, where the Nation’s founders itself stated that ‘all men are created equal with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The major drivers of health inequalities are income and wealth, education, social environment, physical environment, housing as well as health systems and services.
Talking about the solutions, the presence of examples talks more! Some of the best establishments that were created to curb health inequalities are Delta Health Center in Mississippi and Dudley Street Neighborhood in Boston, where the health services are practiced unbiased and strategically designed to give medical access to everyone, irrespective of any differences.
The expansion of health care policies by the government will help a lot by studying the root causes of health inequality and moving forward for early achievable targets.
Yishai Knobel has led the mobile department of mHealth platform at AgaMatrix, maker of Sanofi’s iBGStar glucose monitor, and founded HelpAround – a patient-centric platform aimed at patient discovery, engagement, and retention to therapy. Knobel believes that health inequality in the U.S. also applies to those rare disease sufferers. According to Yishai…
The lacking number of specialists in the United States forces patients to travel long distances to receive the required treatment or relocate in case their financial situation cannot cover the expenses. Furthermore, of the 7000 known rare diseases, only a few hundred have been granted FDA-approved treatments.
Without an FDA-approved treatment, medical professionals have to provide prescriptions for off-label use. Statistics show that only 30% of patients have been prescribed off-label use medication. Of that 30%, up to 60% faced delays in receiving the required treatment due to the insurance company’s coverage response.
Another commonly found barrier is found in the cost-sharing mechanism implemented by specialty tiers. More than 90% of medication required for rare disease treatment features at least 4 tiers of cost-sharing across specialties. In the case of specialty treatments, the more tiers to cross, the less likely the insurance company will cover the necessary costs.
With only a small part of the cost being covered by the insurance company, more often than not, patients need to cover extremely high medical bills, which in most cases leads to them using less effective or unsafe alternative treatments.
According to Nicholas Creel, from Georgia College and State University…
Health inequality in the US is, in no small part, a result of the privatization of healthcare. Most post-industrialized nations have adopted universal healthcare, with the US being the notable exception. As a result, we spend between 2 and 3 times the OECD average on medical care and get middling to worse health outcomes on almost any measure.
The ultimate reason we get worse outcomes, even though we spend so much more money on healthcare, is that we focus more on treatments than prevention and, as the adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Without solid health coverage, a good many Americans forgo routine medical check-ups for financial reasons.
As such, conditions like pre-diabetes or early-stage cancer are not diagnosed until the issue becomes more advanced, more likely to kill us, and much more expensive to treat.