Well, understandably we are not in Rome. Still, why is it so hard for the United States to “do as the Romans do,” like other developed countries and provide universal access to health care? I just do not understand why the U.S. is yet to adapt to this type of health-care system for the benefit of people.
Many describe the United States health care system as a conglomerate of private and public entities. Even though millions of people are covered through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Veteran’s Administration, and the Department of Defense, millions still are without health coverage.
Every U.S. citizen wishes for a better quality of life. I for one, have this wish. Access to health care, without the repercussions of bankruptcy or astronomical cost, would be an amazing accomplishment in the United States. Yet, how many times have we seen those –whether close relatives, friends, and even neighbors — lose their homes, get separated or divorced, go bankrupt, and in general struggle financially due to the troubles of having to pay or the inability to pay medical bills. The thought alone is very scary. No wonder, regardless of how much the United States spends on health care per person, which is more than any other country, again millions are still uninsured and have no access to healthcare.
I understand that there is a myriad of reasons for the disproportionately high health care costs in the United States. These include the use of expensive new diagnostic tests and treatments, increased cost of health and services, overuse of specialists, administrative costs, doctors fees, malpractice cost, defensive medicine, and an aging population. Yet again, other countries, the “Romans,” have already provided methods that lower health cost. So these excuses are not valid.
I remember a phrase growing up, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Though many can interpret this phrase according to their understanding, it is clear that the United States doesn’t have to look for “something new,” since what has been done in other developed countries regarding health-care policy and access has been and is still working and benefiting the people and the respective country.
The United States wishes to be the best in the world, yet is ranked at the lower end when it comes to health care. This should not be. There was a well-known actor who was speaking to an audience of young people. This actor basically said to read, just read. He said that all the questions have already been answered by someone else and all one has to do is enthusiastically read and the answers can be found through other people’s experiences.
With this in mind, the United States needs only “read’ or take notes from other successful countries regarding health care policies. Universal health care isn’t something new. It is being done successfully. So why can’t the United States “do as the Romans do?”
Edwin Quashie is a NICU RN and neonatal nurse practitioner student at the University of Connecticut.