There has long been a debate about how the American healthcare system should be run. Politics are often centered around which health services Americans should be paying for, and which expenses should be taken care of by the government. The healthcare systems of other countries are also explored in some political arguments, making the case the healthcare entirely too expensive for the average American citizen.
There have also been far too many unfortunate stories of people who haven’t received the care they needed due to substandard conditions in hospitals and nursing homes. Some people have been released from healthcare facilities prematurely because they weren’t able to cover the cost of their care, and there have also been reports of doctors who have grossly overcharged their patients in an attempt to get rich. Tragically, there have even been reports that alternative health doctors have been killed or gone missing, because they tried to expose corruption in the conventional healthcare system.
Whether you’ve had to visit the hospital for major surgery or only go to your doctor for routine check-ups, you’ve probably got some questions about the health industry overall. Here are 12 shocking things you didn’t know about America’s health industry.
12. One Day In The Hospital Costs Over $18,000
If you have to stay overnight in the hospital for any reason, you could be paying around $18,000, according to Obamacare Facts. These numbers have increased slightly since 2012 (when the cost was over $12,000), and could be considerably more depending on the healthcare facility where you’re staying. These prices are considerably higher than the cost of a day in the hospital in other countries. A day-long hospital stay is less than $500 in Spain, and less than $1,000 in Chile. Of course, most Americans can not afford this, which is why many of their health conditions go untreated for years, and often become chronic.
11. More Than 50% of Medical Procedures Have No Real Benefit
The Dr. Mercola’s website states that more than half of the procedures Americans receive at hospitals and doctor’s offices have no real benefit, and some can actually be harmful. There were several studies conducted that examined the current state of care when it comes to health facilities in the United States. Of the facilities studied, 40 percent changed their methods, while 38 percent defended their procedures. Twenty-two percent were inconclusive. These types of numbers can definitely create mistrust with patients, and some physicians are questioning the standard in healthcare in America as well. Further evaluations of the health care system are ongoing.
10. Americans Spend More, But Get The Least With Healthcare
Even though healthcare in the United States is extremely expensive, America ranks last among the top 10 countries when it comes to mortality and overall health. Countries such as Japan, the U.K, Italy, Brazil, Spain and Australia received considerably higher rankings. Dr. Mercola asserts that about 30 cents of every dollar spent on American healthcare goes to waste, which amounts to $750 billion every year. This is the same amount the Department of Defense says was spent on the entire war in Iraq. This astounding number is indicative of unnecessary medical procedures, lack of preventative care and inflated healthcare prices.
9. Up To 400,000 People Die Every Year Because of Medical Errors
A 2013 Forbes article revealed that up to 400,000 people pass away annually due to medical mistakes. The Journal of Patient Safety states that anywhere between 210,000 and 400,000 patients suffer some form of harm in a medical facility that could have been prevented, but contributed to their deaths. This indicates that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the country. Cancer is the second cause of death in the country, and heart disease is the lead killer. Medical research also indicates that there are ways to prevent or lower the chances of both of these diseases as well.
8. More Than Half of All Clinicians Aren’t Comfortable Speaking Up
Forbes also states that 58 percent of clinicians don’t feel safe speaking up about a healthcare problem they’ve seen themselves. In some cases, when the clinicians do say something, they found that others weren’t willing to listen or help solve the problem. This statistic initially appeared in a report from 2005 by VitalSmart and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses entitled “Silence Kills.” The report also indicated that 84 percent of doctors saw that shortcuts were being taken when caring for patients, and 88 percent of doctors worked with people who did not exhibit sound judgment. These numbers are pretty shocking, but the report also stated that even though the patients were at risk, less than 10 percent of doctors, nurses and other members of the clinical staff said anything to their colleagues about their concerns.
7. Patients In Critical Care Experience Around Two Medical Errors Every Day
Not only do patients run the risk of experiencing medical errors any time they receive care, those who are receiving critical treatments often experience two medical errors everyday they are in the hospital. An article published in 1995 by The Journal of Critical Care Medicine stated that patients in the ICU experienced 1.7 errors daily. The study also indicated that the main reason for this was poor communication between the medical staff caring for the patient. While this study is fairly old, the majority of clinicians in the U.S. believe that the statistics are still valid, which means there are several aspects of the healthcare system that need improvement.
6. American Cancer Survival Rates Are Greater Than Rates For Europeans
While there are many things about the healthcare system in the United States that need to be addressed and repaired, a study published by the National Center for Policy Analysis reveals that Americans have a better chance of surviving common cancers than their European counterparts. For example, the instance of breast cancer mortality in Germany is 52 percent higher than in the United States, and in the United Kingdom, the mortality rate is 88 percent higher, according to a 2009 report. Patients in the UK with prostate cancer have an astounding 604 percent higher mortality rate, and men in Norway are 457 percent more likely to die from the disease.
5. Americans Have Better Access to Treatment for Chronic Conditions
Compared to patients in other developed countries, people in the United States have better access to medical treatment when they need chronic care. Around 56 percent of Americans would see an improvement in health from taking statin drugs, which lower the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. Of the patients whose health would improve from taking these medications, 36 percent of Dutch patients, 29 of Swiss patients, 26 percent of German patients, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italian patients receive these medicines. There have also been a number of studies and prevention lists published for Americans to refer to when lowering their risk for these conditions.
4. Americans Spend Less Time Waiting For Healthcare
We all know that waiting to be seen in the doctor’s office can be a pain, especially if you’ve made your appointment well in advance. There are also times when it can be a challenge to save up the necessary funds to go to the doctor. However, when compared to patients in Canada and the UK, Americans don’t have to wait as long to get the care they need. UK and Canadian patients have to wait twice as long as Americans on average, and some patients in these countries have to wait up to a year to be seen for critical procedures like radiation cancer treatment or hip replacement.
3. Americans Are More Satisfied With Their Healthcare Than Other Countries
There are millions of Americans who are not satisfied with the healthcare they receive, and even more who are not satisfied with the fact that they can’t afford proper health care for their families. However, in comparison to other countries with more government-controlled healthcare, Americans are not complaining as much. More than 70 of patients in Germany, the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Australia say that the health care systems in their countries need to be completely reformed or could benefit from fundamental change. These are also countries in which the cost of health care is considerably lower than it is in the United States.
2. Low-Income Americans Are In Better Health Than Canadians
While the push to get better access to medical care for Americans with low incomes is in affect, the health of American citizens is considered better than low-income Canadians. A little over 11 percent of American senior citizens with below-average incomes say that their health is “excellent,” compared with over 5 percent of Canadians in the same age bracket. Interestingly, 20 percent of white Canadian young adults are more prone to classify their health as “fair or poor” than low-income Americans in the same age range. While the numbers indicate that Americans have better overall access to health care, an individual’s rating of his/her health could also be based on the country they live in and their perception of that country’s health care system.
1. Americans Are Credited For A Number of Healthcare Innovations
The five leading hospitals in the United States conduct more clinical trials than all hospitals in other developed countries in just a single day. The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded to an American doctor more often than all recipients from all countries combined since the 1970s. This indicates that the majority of important medical innovations have been developed by American doctors. While these statistics are impressive, there is still a very needed push for things to improve in the American healthcare system, since there are several diseases that can be prevented. The health of Americans could drastically improve by the reduction and elimination of medical errors and more careful attention of medical professionals to treat serious conditions.