Raising costs of healthcare in America

Susan Finley returned to her Walmart retail store job, in Colorado, after calling in sick as she had pneumonia.

That day she received ten-year associate award and was fired because she broke Walmart’s attendance policy by one day.

After that, she lost her health insurance coverage. She died 3 months later as she didn’t visit the doctor.

She thought she caught flu but didn’t go to the doctor as she didn’t have any money.

Walmart declined commenting on how Finley lost her job, saying that personnel data from 2016 had been relocated.

Finley is just another average American who avoided getting medical treatment because of the costs.

A December 2019 poll said that 25% of Americans delay medical treatment for a major illness, and 8% delay it for less serious illnesses, because of the costs. Dr Robin Yabroff confirmed these results. A study found that 56% of American adults have had minimum of one medical financial hardship and that the problem is likely to worsen.

Despite these figures, the US is still found to spend most on healthcare than any developed nation, while achieving even worse overall outcomes. A 2017 analysis stated that the US is globally positioned 24th in achieving the UN set health goals. In 2018, US spent $3.65tn on healthcare, and these figures are projected to rise annually at a rate of 5.5% over the next decade.

In 2017, Anamaria Markle was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer after which her employer fired her, with a severance of one year and health insurance coverage. After her insurance coverage ended, she struggled to afford copays, medical debt and coverage via Cobra (a health insurance program made for employees in such a condition).

Due to the flooding bills, Markle stopped getting treatment and died in September 2018.

A 2009 study, led by Harvard Medical School researchers stated that 45,000 Americans die yearly from not having health insurance coverage. In 2018, 27.8 million Americans didn’t have any health insurance for the whole year.

One of these Americans died of a liver disease in 2002. Now this person’s wife has kidney issues and type 2 diabetes, but is facing same cost barriers.

Her family is raising funds via GoFundMe for her surgery, which she expected would be covered under a charity program. But she was denied and now has over $40,000 in debt.