Healthcare is expensive.
In fact, if you do not have health insurance, healthcare may seem like a luxury; something you would like but cannot afford.
If you have no health insurance you sometimes have to make difficult decisions about your health.
Take Raliegh Terrell, a machine operator at US Sugar. Raleigh’s healthcare insurance was a bit too expensive for him to afford, and because of this, he had to make certain choices about his health.
In our ongoing series in partnership with the Health & Justice project, listen to Raleigh’s story below. (6 min, Music Credit: “TronicTribe – Intermission – Samples: ukulele, kick” (TronicTribe Presents:) / CC BY 3.0)
And Raleigh is not alone in his struggle to make difficult decisions about healthcare.
From Jeffrey Young:
Healthcare “costs led 58 percent of people to put off or go without health care they needed in the previous 12 months, a increase from 50 percent last August, says a survey released Monday by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research organization based in Menlo Park, Calif. Americans skipped doctor and dentist visits, didn’t receive diagnostic tests, didn’t take their medicines, cut pills in half or took other steps to save money that could make them less healthy, the survey found. Twenty-six percent of Americans reported they or a family member had difficulty paying medical bills, the same percentage as last August.”
Is it any surprise that healthcare related bankruptcies are on the rise?
While there are ways to help avoid medical related debt, the bottom line is that we still need to create a system that can help cover everyone. We must determine the reasons healthcare is so expensive in this country, and we must work to create
All of this brings us back to the fact that we in reality do not have a “healthcare system” but rather have a “disconnected collection of large and small medical businesses, health care professionals, treatment centers, hospitals, and all who provide support for them.”
Patients’ who cannot afford healthcare must be able to have a place to go. We must eliminate roadblocks to healthcare and health insurance.
We must create a system that allows for patients to seek out healthcare services without the fear of how much it is going to cost them; we must create affordable healthcare insurance and work towards decreasing the overall cost of healthcare (while improving quality).
We must remember that the Patient-Protection and Affordable Care Act was created to ensure that American families have quality, affordable healthcare coverage options. But will this be enough? Until we see substantial reform in the business of healthcare, costs will continue to rise and creating affordable health insurance for people like Raleigh will be a challenge. Until this moment, our communities who cannot afford health insurance will continue to make hard choices on whether to go or not go seek help for their health.