By Morolake Amole
The problem with health care in the United States is not that we suffer from inadequate medical resources. Quite the contrary.
We have thousands of highly skilled and dedicated doctors and nurses. We have many top-notch hospitals possessing state-of-the-art equipment and medications. We have significant patient protection laws.
So then how do we explain our country’s poor health outcomes, e.g. that we ranked 19th out of 19 wealthy nations in 2010 on preventing deaths that could have been avoided with medical care?
Here’s a clue: If you compare the U.S. system with those of other industrialized nations, you’ll see that no other country relies so heavily on multiple private insurance plans and has such high financial barriers to care.
Does the Affordable Care Act change this picture? The ACA will, within a few years, increase coverage for about 20 million people through a combination of subsidies for private insurance and an expansion of the Medicaid program (in those states that have agreed to accept it). This increased coverage will likely save many thousands of lives each year.
Yet even when the ACA is fully implemented, 30 million Americans will remain uninsured. Some won’t be able afford a ...