The Current Condition of the U.S. Healthcare System

Written By Subhan Khan on October 16, 2022

Healthcare in the U.S. is becoming more technologically advanced with the addition of new methods to perform surgery and effectively treat diseases. People from all over the world come to the U.S. for various treatments not found anywhere else at the moment. Despite the advancements in U.S. healthcare, the cost of care, inefficient patient experiences, and disproportionate access cause the system to be insufficient compared to those of other developed nations.

One of the main reasons for the high costs in the system is hospital dues and excessive spending on pharmaceuticals. Prestigious hospitals, such as MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, understand their status compared to other hospitals and use this to their advantage. They charge much more for services that could be done at other care centers. They can maintain high dues and garner high traffic as patients are generally referred to the hospital system by their physicians. Pharmaceutical companies use a similar tactic. They can deliberately set the price of a certain medicine several times over the production cost due to its demand. When people have nowhere else to buy the medicine they may need, pharmaceutical companies set soaring prices and are able to continuously receive substantial profits. For example, a growing rise of individuals with ADHD has been brought to the attention of many physicians. It has caused many doctors to prescribe Adderall, which is the generic name of Amphetamine. It costs around $190 in the U.S., but you can find it for a much better price in Canada.

To address these problems, many European countries have set limits on the price of pharmaceuticals. Similarly, the U.S. can restrict the prices of hospital services and medicine. Some may worry that cutting costs from hospitals or pharmaceutical manufacturers could have uncertain consequences, and the same could be said about research programs and medical development areas. These are fears that may naturally come, but by careful decision-making and great consideration, we can avoid the negative effects and make healthcare less costly for Americans.

By far, the United States has one of the most technologically advanced medical systems in the world. According to a study done by Global Market Insights, Inc., the healthcare information technology market is set to grow from its current market value of over $163 billion to more than $441 billion by 2025. One would think that the U.S. provides the best healthcare since they spend so much on its technology, but they would certainly be wrong. The United States has four times the number of MRIs per capita than Canada and three times as many cardiac surgeons, yet Americans do not see the doctor more or become hospitalized any more than Canadians. Even though the care for cardiovascular patients is much more intensive with the growing medical technology industry, heart attack survival is not any better. In fact, the number one cause of death among Americans is cardiovascular disease.

It seems like the U.S. overlooks routine care and focuses too much on high-tech care. Effective medications for illnesses such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol have become more common in the United States, but only half of the people have been successfully treated. These illnesses often lead to much worse conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. 

Mental health has become a growing concern over the last few decades. According to some data released by Mental Health America, nearly one in five individuals in the U.S. are living with a mental health condition. This is because mental illnesses are under-diagnosed, and the consequences are becoming more apparent. The effects of these conditions can increase over time and increase the cost of treatment as complications arise.

When lowering costs for medical resources, it may become difficult to distribute the resources to the right patients. When limiting these resources, hospitals and physicians would have to become more careful when deciding what they think is right for a patient. For example, if a doctor has a limit on how many MRIs can be performed, they cannot just perform extra tests without reason; the physician will have to make sure that doing that test is the most effective solution. With a limit on resources, medical spending would drop, and care would become more effective.

Canada uses a similar metric in which there is a limit on medical resources. Physicians are allowed to decide how these resources are allocated. They can do this effectively, so Canada ends up with better results for a lowered cost. If the United States can do something similar, the healthcare system could reduce spending.

Another growing issue in the healthcare system is unequal access to care. Racial and ethnic disparities in medical care are apparent and give way to ethical dilemmas. According to the NIH, infant mortality for black babies is 2.5 times higher than for white babies, and black people have a life span of one decade less than white people on average. Diabetes is 30% more common in Latinos and Native Americans than in white people, and minority populations remain underrepresented in the healthcare workforce as compared to their proportions in the population.

A few decades ago, a report by the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, commonly known as the Malone-Heckler report, revealed some significant findings. It showed that six medical conditions between black and white people were responsible for 86% of excess black mortality. They were cancer, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, infant mortality, cirrhosis, and homicide and accidents. It also found that 45% of deaths up to the age of 70 years in the black population could have been avoided if there was better evaluation, detection, and treatment. The study proved that sectors of the U.S. healthcare system were biased towards certain populations, and it highlighted the concern for unequal access to healthcare.

There is certainly much reform to do in terms of its healthcare system. Lowering charges on healthcare services/pharmaceuticals and limiting costs on medical resources can aid in creating an affordable and efficient patient experience. By setting laws and overhauling processes, equality in access to healthcare among Americans could be a reality. The nation might emphasize technological advancements as the new cornerstone of healthcare, but going back to the basics by providing a fluid and easy experience for the patient could help transition the U.S. from its current state to its future.


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Cutler, David. “The World's Costliest Health Care.” Harvard Magazine, 17 Apr. 2020,

Riley, Wayne J. “Health Disparities: Gaps in Access, Quality and Affordability of Medical Care.” Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, American Clinical and Climatological Association, 2012,