In light of the current healthcare controversies, access to healthcare in the U.S. remains the issue of the major concern. Apart from the fact that the country does not provide universal insurance coverage for everyone, thousands of the American and non-American citizens in the U.S. face barriers on their way to using even the basic set of healthcare services in the country. The reasons of these problems are many. While thousands of people in the U.S. experience healthcare disparities based on their race, ethnicity, social status, disability status, or related non-medical factors, the U.S. cannot decide whether access to healthcare is a privilege or a right. As a result, the current state of healthcare in the U.S. has already become notorious for its growing ineffectiveness, inconsistency, and unjustified costs.
The significance of the issue
Needless to say that access to healthcare contributes to the general improvement of health in society. In the same way, access to healthcare makes it possible to address the emerging health problems at earlier stages of sickness which, as a result, reduces the costs of healthcare, improves the wellbeing of citizens, and minimizes the risks of morbidity across different population layers. “Access to health care has been justified in economic terms through its benefits in improving the health of entire communities, leading to conditions that favor economic growth” (Gulliford & Morgan, 2003), and in this context access to healthcare stands as the critical component of the societal wellbeing, without which communities are likely to experience the deterioration of social standards. Unfortunately, until present, access to healthcare in the U.S. has been the least secure among the most affluent countries (Gulliford & Morgan, 2003), and access to healthcare in the U.S. remains the topic of the major social concern. The barriers to access are so many that one single healthcare reform cannot address them all. However, it is important to understand the reasons and drivers behind the lack of access to the basic health care services in the U.S.
Related Issues and Consequences
In 2006, 47 million people in the U.S. lacked insurance coverage compared to 445 million of uninsured in 2005 (Cancer, 2009). As a result, more than 25% of people with serious health conditions, including cancer, had to spend all their resources and personal savings to tackle the health challenges in their lives (Cancer, 2009). However, while the need for the state to cover serious and terminal health conditions like cancer or mental illness is questionable, access to the basic health care services in the ...