I was recently involved in an accident that landed me in the hospital. I’m happy to report that I’m okay now! The care that I received was really top-notch, and I’m very lucky to be doing so well. But I have to say, great care didn’t come cheap: my hospital bills were very, very high. Why is it that healthcare is so expensive? Is there any way to make it cheaper? I know how important it is to have health insurance, and I have it, but my policy didn’t exactly make my hospital stay affordable – it was still really pricey. Can the experts weigh in on this?
Health care teams at hospitals work hard to deliver the best care possible to every patient who comes through their doors. That sort of care isn’t cheap – and it’s also clear that our healthcare system is not the most efficient one in the world. Let’s explore some of the reasons for pricey care.
First, we should talk about the many legitimate reasons that healthcare gets pricey! Doctors work hard and attend years of school (sometimes accumulating quite a bit of debt) in order to become properly trained. Pharmaceutical companies spend big bucks to research new drugs and clear regulatory hurdles. And hospitals spend big to keep their facilities modern, say practitioners at Richmond University Medical Center’s Staten Island immediate care center.
But there are also inefficiencies and political questions in our healthcare system. Administrative costs are out of control, say experts: our administrative costs account for a quarter of our healthcare costs, a figure that’s higher than in other countries. Drug costs are higher here, too, due to laws about patents intended to reward companies that do the tough research needed to find new drugs – laws that also make those drugs tough to afford!
And, of course, our healthcare system distributes the cost of healthcare in a very different way than some other countries – such as Canada, where the government is effectively the sole payer of healthcare costs under their “single-payer” system.
So what can you do to afford healthcare costs? The first and most important thing, as you note, is to get health insurance – ideally, a good policy that covers more of your expenses. You can also save for healthcare costs in tax-sheltered health savings accounts. And you can also seek compensation from the person who caused your accident, say the Topton, Pennsylvania accident attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices, if the accident came about through no fault of your own and you suffered damages.
Nobody wants healthcare to be too expensive, but it’s not easy to keep costs down. The cost of healthcare is tied up in everything from unavoidable realities to fraught political issues. But perhaps you’ll be among the future leaders who solve the problem!
“I believe everyone should have healthcare. In all my correspondence – I’ve been saying for years – it’s a right, not a privilege.” – Bart Stupak