When I travel outside our country, I’m impressed by the efficient and personal level of health care my family and I receive in areas that are otherwise far behind our resources. In contrast, here we have to wait months for a physical. As our access to care and costs become increasingly more difficult and expensive, we need to critically question our course.
Americans have been told that the path to good health care is through insurance, but the insurance company’s health is based on profitability, not quality. For $650 per month, my healthy family of four gets 75 percent coverage after a $5,000 deductible per person. Short of a medical catastrophe, it is of little use to us; even our 25 percent would likely be beyond any ability to pay. This is $7,800 per year that is not available for the treatment of common ailments, medicine or preventive check-ups. It is becoming increasingly difficult to justify this ever-rising expense.
I’m not against making money, but the profit margins sought by hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical manufacturers and insurance companies are becoming ruinous to the people of this country. This cannot continue indefinitely. As Emerson Smith suggested in his Jan. 23 guest column, “What Cuba can teach South Carolina about health care,” we might learn much from other countries if we could put aside biases and focus some of our attention away from profits and back toward the basic health care of our citizens.