Cami H. and Katie S. Michigan

The Heightened Cost of Health Care

As two people who have been deeply exposed to the world of medicine, it has come to our attention how expensive health care is, and how the U.S. can lower the price to make it accessible for all Americans.

Dear Future President,

Since the recession in the United States, the cost of health insurance has risen drastically. The article, Employers can help quell rising healthcare costs, says in the last five years deductibles from insurance companies have increased by ten times over inflation. As a result, “hospitals have never given patients the information on cost and quality they need to make informed decisions, which is one reason we continue to see tens of thousands of patients each year going to more expensive, lower-quality hospitals when there may be far better options operating virtually next door.” This is inexcusable to be happening, especially in a first world country like the United States.

My name is Katie, and in seventh grade I had MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) in my ankle and had thirteen surgeries trying to get rid of the infection. However, over the course of six months my ankle was so destroyed that my doctors, my family, and I decided amputating my foot was the only option. Becoming an amputee was tough at first due to the fact of prosthesis not fitting right. However, once I got a good fit, I was back to doing the things I wanted to do in no time. As a result, I played volleyball in eighth grade and played basketball on my high school freshman and junior varsity teams. Over the course of almost five years being an amputee, I have learned that I need good health care, so I do not have to pay the majority of costs of my prosthetic legs. My family’s healthcare has allowed us to not worry about paying my huge medical bills out of pocket.

My name is Cami and during my junior year I was diagnosed with Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS). Six months later, I had surgery at the University of Chicago. When I saw the cost of one of the appointments, and I was shocked. It cost hundreds of dollars even just to visit one doctor. I was lucky that my family has reliable health care, so we didn’t have to pay out of pocket for my appointments and surgery. However, many Americans are not so lucky. There are thousands of people unable to afford health care in the United States, and they are unable to get the services they need.

As you can see, both of us have experienced in-depth medical challenges with the U.S. healthcare system. The article U.S. Healthcare Ranked Dead Last Compared to Ten Other Countries says, “One-third or more lower-income adults in the U.S. said they went without needed care because of costs in the past year.” Many families are experiencing medical challenges today from having a hard time paying their medical bills to even losing their homes.

In the article Even with Insurance, Family of Medically Fragile Child Struggles to Find Home Health Care, The Smarts family is struggling to keep their son, Noah, who has rare heart disease, on a feeding tube, a suction tube, and oxygen. The Smarts have been trying to find around-the-clock care to help with Noah’s medical needs. As a result of this issue, “Maxim has been working with Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, to pass legislation that addresses the issue. Senate Bill 1401, first introduced in March, would establish a three-year pilot program in three regions around California— including the Bay Area. Under the pilot, Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses would be increased 20 percent.” Even though the Smarts have insurance, they have had to pay $5,000 per month in order to keep Noah alive.

We propose that a way of solving this problem is to take examples from other countries that have successfully enacted universal health care. Take Thailand for example. In the article Universal Health Care: The Afford Dream, it said previously, only a quarter of their country had been guaranteed health care, but in 2001; they established a program granting universal health care to all and guaranteeing that no one would have to pay more than 30 baht (about 50 U.S. dollars) for medical expenses. If the U.S. could create a program like this, families like the Smarts would not be drowned in thousands of dollars of health expenses. Another option is to follow the lead of European countries and guarantee health care to every citizen, yet let those who can afford it to choose if they want to pay for additional services.

If the United States provides universal health care, families will not have to potentially quit their jobs or lose their house in order to pay for medical bills. We think that using healthcare systems successfully working in other countries is a good way for the U.S. to solve this problem. Both of us have garnered a lot of medical expenses, and it is hard for us to fathom where we would be right now if our families’ health care could not pay for it. We hope you will listen to our proposal, and start making advances towards universal health care.


Katie and Cami

Okemos High School

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