Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | To say that the American healthcare system is criminally expensive and convoluted would be an understatement. Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that 20% of people under the age of 65, although insured, have trouble paying medical bills. 75% of them reported that, as a result, they had had to cut back on household spending, and 63% of them used up all or most of their savings to pay a medical bill. In 2015, an average family of four had to shell out $24,671 for medical expenses. An ambulance ride costs $164 per mile, on average. An emergency room visit by itself could cost you around $1,233. The national average for a vaginal birth is now $8,775, and a c-section will set you back $11,525.
At the same time, medical and healthcare professionals are relentlessly overworked. Nurses in the US often work shifts that can run as long as 24 to 36 hours. Only 16% of nurses in a national survey think they are adequately compensated. There is a chronic shortage of doctors, who spend an average of just 12 minutes per patient during appointments. Moreover, the for-profit system creates incentives for doctors to provide add-on services, often medically unnecessary, which leads to an estimated 210,000 patients dying each year due to medical errors.
Parson Young is from Taiwan.
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