COVID-19 has immensely affected the world in ways we never thought.
Across the nation, more than 4 million people have suffered from the virus. Many countries have been able to recover, but the United States, a fully-developed country, has failed to sustain not only its rise in cases but also its social economics.
COVID-19 has impacted all the different aspects of American lives. It has created a crisis in healthcare, disadvantaged poor communities, and increased the unemployment rate more than ever.
The U.S. Healthcare Crisis
America is one of the most industrialized nations in the world. As opposed to other developed countries, U.S. healthcare is the most expensive. While the healthcare system has always been a problem in the U.S., it is a substantial problem during the current pandemic. Thousands of families simply cannot afford the cost of treatment and tests for COVID-19. My interest begins with the discussion of social influences on U.S. spending compared to other economically-developed countries. We spend billions on healthcare and yet are the only developed country that fails to provide health coverage for its citizens. In 2018, over 27 million people had no health insurance and a significant amount had inadequate healthcare. The question is: Why is healthcare so expensive? Contrary to most healthcare systems, America’s system is a combination of private health insurance and public health coverage. Its counterparts—such as Canada, Denmark, and Norway— supply universal healthcare, guaranteeing health coverage for everyone, and ensuring that “all people can obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.” In contrast, in the U.S, the use of both private and public healthcare sectors are primary sources to healthcare.
Healthcare: Commodity or Entitlement?
Healthcare is a basic human need. Not having healthcare is like having a car without a mechanic. In comparison, a human life is of more worth than a car.
Our society runs on capitalism. Capitalism drives the need for products and services among businesses. Healthcare in the United States is essentially a for-profit business. It is justifiable for electric cars, smartphones, etc. However, when it endangers the lives of those who can not afford it, it becomes a long-overdue problem, especially in a pandemic when thousands of families are dying.
Healthcare should not be a commodity to make money off of, especially if it benefits the wealthy while risking the disadvantaged.
It bewilders me that our country is so set on the capitalist ideology that we have questioned whether or not healthcare is a necessity.
Inadequate Insurance Coverage in At-Risk Communities
As stated by The Commonwealth Fund, in 2018, a disproportionate amount of uninsured Latinos under the age of 35 were in low-income communities. This is just one of many examples of how America’s hybrid system disadvantages minorities. While a majority of minorities reside in low-income communities, it creates a setback on not only the quality of care, but also essentially easy access to healthcare. This contributes greatly to the rise in deaths due to COVID-19, simply because a considerable amount of minorities will not have insurance, increasing the death rate.
Unemployment Rate: Loss of Insurance
Millions of people in the U.S. have been left jobless due to COVID-19. Nearly half the population is without a job. These jobs provide paychecks but also health insurance. Many unemployed citizens are in search of new health coverage. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act exists, lowering the costs for those who are lower-income. Unfortunately, many people still can’t afford necessities because many households have lost their source of income. The Affordable Care Act enables health insurance for families; however, individuals who do not earn enough income are forced to rely on social services such as Medicaid. Millions of U.S. citizens have resorted to relying on government social welfare programs. The effects of the massive spread of the virus have spiraled the economy into a deep hole that many citizens and companies will have to dig themselves out of.
It is inevitable for many to feel uneasy as it is certainly an anxious time for everyone. During these testing times, a feeling of uneasiness is expected. Healthcare is essential and an extremely costly system. We should modernize healthcare laws and provide high-quality insurance to at-risk communities. We are the constituents of our elected officials. We can elect government officials who believe in the benefits of universal healthcare. Attaining universal healthcare will provide care of equal quality for low-, middle-, and high-income families. We need a leader in power who cares about the well-being of their people, especially the many disadvantaged ones.