What is wrong with American medicine: the opinion of a Russian-speaking immigrant
Despite the fact that the general standard of living in the USA is quite high, there are also “eternal” problems here, the main of which is medicine. Few things frighten the average American so much as a serious illness and the need for a thorough treatment. An unbelievable absurdity health system is operating in the country, which even a person with two higher educations cannot understand, the author of the channel writes. “50 shades of New York” on Yandex.Zen.
In order not to be unfounded, I will give you some statistics to begin with. According to last year, 66% of bankruptcies of individuals in the United States are associated with receiving bills to pay for treatment, while about 80% of those who went bankrupt had medical insurance. On average, an American spends 4 times more money on medicine than a German. 1,9 million U.S. residents choose to receive medical care outside their home country in 2019. How do you like that?
I’ll tell you about the system itself. Medicine in America is paid, every resident of the country must have medical insurance. Large companies pay it to their employees and even their family members, but not all employers do this. More often a working person buys health insurance himself.
For example, in New York, it will cost you an average of $ 600 dollars per person per month. If the annual income is below 65 thousand dollars, you can expect a decrease in this amount. Low-income, unemployed, people with disabilities, minors and retirees receive state insurance for free under Medicare and Medicaid. A step towards more affordable medicine for all residents of the country was made by Obama, but the Obamacare program was actually canceled by Trump. Earn money - shell out for insurance, that's the point.
But do not think that insurance will solve all your medical problems. It does not cover part of the diseases and procedures or only partially covers. Therefore, having asked for help, the insured with horror is waiting for additional bills. The category of the doctor who performed your procedure, or the medicine that you injected, can cost you several hundred or even thousands of dollars.
Few people manage to predict these costs - I know examples when a person instructed a personal assistant to carefully study all the conditions of his insurance in order to avoid unnecessary expenses, and still at the end of treatment he received “letters of happiness” with four-digit amounts. It seems like the president passed a law last year, requiring that prices for medical services be opened to individuals. Just think - how can the cost of paid services be hidden from the consumer?
Now you understand why ordinary Americans are afraid of fire like doctors and turn to them only if absolutely necessary. If a Russian call an ambulance is a common thing, then even they prefer to take a taxi to the maternity hospital, because an ambulance (she’s a fireman, she’s also “911”) almost never enters insurance and costs atomic money. In the hospital, they also lie a day or two - 1-3 thousand a day in a medical institution. Very motivated to recover.
In recent years, medical tourism has become increasingly popular. Special services offer Americans to receive quality treatment in neighboring Mexico (yes, medicine is there), Thailand, Israel, Turkey. And from those who wish there is no end!
Another American healthcare problem is the powerful pharmaceutical lobby. All serious medicines are purchased strictly according to the prescription, but more often they are issued by the attending physician. The patient himself, in fact, does not affect the choice of the drug and generally does not particularly delve into the topic. This is one of the causes of the opioid crisis, which so much is written by the media. The uncontrolled use of opioid analgesics has led many people to a real collapse. Just imagine - I wanted to get rid of back pain, I received a bottle of pills from a doctor and became drug addicted.
By the way, people in the United States are so unaware of drugs and not accustomed to self-medication that I once explained to a whole queue in a pharmacy that activated carbon helps with poisoning - they thought it was a vitamin or something.
In general, the crisis in American medicine is obvious. Still, in Russia, treatment is much more accessible, and it is very difficult for immigrants to get used to the new harsh realities. Fortunately, in recent years this problem has been actively discussed in the press, and society expects serious and effective reforms from the authorities.
Original column published on the blog. “50 shades of New York” on Yandex.Zen.
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