As stressed medical students looking for an eventful destination to spend our spring break, my friend and I chose to take a trip to America’s Big Apple, New York City. On a sunny day in NYC, I remember enjoying our morning cups of coffee and walking into a subway station when, suddenly, an older man shouted at us, “Take your Corona and get out of my country!”
There is a cost crisis in medicine: the healthcare industry accounts for about 18 percent of the GDP in the United States, and predictive models see this increasing in the coming years. This is a problem for the country as a whole as an estimated 41 percent of working Americans have some level of medical debt.
I have learned that patients seek health care services at free clinics for a myriad of reasons and some are atypical. There were specific populations I expected to see: the uninsured, underinsured, undocumented, and those without access to transportation. Yet there were other populations I was more surprised to see, namely patients who had insurance but preferred their experiences at free clinics.
President Trump signed an executive order this past June that directs the Health and Human Services Department to develop a rule requiring hospitals to disclose online the prices that insurers and patients pay for common items and services. The rule also requires hospitals to reveal the amounts they are willing to accept in cash for an item or service. However, hospitals not complying only face a civil penalty of $300 a day, giving them latitude to effectively ignore the executive order.
“Defund the police” has become one of the slogans of the protests shaking our nation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But what does this term truly mean, and could defunding the police be helpful for both the police and the health care community?
Hahnemann’s doors stay closed and our patients are waiting. While Philadelphia has stopped negotiations, we, as students with futures in health care, cannot accept this. We demand that Freedman provide free use of Hahnemann for the duration of the pandemic.
Throughout my training, I’ve observed the shortcomings and strengths of the health care system from the perspective of the next generation of physicians. Lack of emphasis on preventative care put Americans at risk even before COVID-19 hit our shores.
From a public health perspective, we in Oregon have nowhere near the number of cases as our northern neighbors in Washington, although with delayed testing it is hard to tell exactly how many people are infected. But as we continue to follow the pattern of disease spread that has been demonstrated in Wuhan and Italy, we can presume that things will only escalate from here. And with it, inequities will be laid bare.
I was sitting in on a patient visit with the attending physician and a senior medical student, and I could tell that both of them were trying to guide him back on track as gently as possible.
Universities have been profiting off students due to the capitalistic and flawed nature of our health care system. Regional hospital networks prevent students from utilizing their insurance elsewhere. With nowhere else to turn, they are forced to pay high premiums for the university plan.
Nationally, our current medical education model fails to address the fundamental tenets of the U.S. health care system, health care policy, and business management. Despite the recent major shift in health care policy, medical schools have proved universally inept at equipping future doctors with the knowledge and tools they need to influence policy in their professional field and to thrive in their careers.
As the American health care system continues to seemingly spend more and get ranked lower than other developed countries, many progressives have suggested a shift to single-payer health care as a solution.