Is the Cost of Healthcare in the United States Justified?

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Aima Rashid, Writer

If you file for bankruptcy, you must be financially irresponsible, right? Wrong. According to an article at, healthcare costs are the number one cause of bankruptcy for American families. Why do Americans pay so much more for healthcare than citizens of other countries? The cost of healthcare in the United States is not justified due to the unnecessary high administrative costs and little regulation of drug prices.

Americans pay so much for their hospital visits due to greater hospital administration costs. Administrative costs, as described by, are the “back-end” functions of the healthcare system aside from direct patient care – including medical billing, scheduling patient appointments, hiring and managing staff and investing in quality improvement efforts. Many explanations for high administrative costs focus on the complex, multi-payer structure of the U.S. healthcare system. Our current multi-payer system allows for too many people to have no, or unaffordable, health coverage. The outrageously high and unnecessary administrative costs would be lowered if the multi-payer system was to be replaced.

The cost of healthcare for Americans can be made up by our quality of care. For example, according to, long wait times for treatment are not as much of an issue for Americans as they are in other developed countries. In treating heart attacks and strokes, the U.S. had the best record of any country. Although the quality of care is excellent, not every American wants to go bankrupt to get it. An estimated 22 percent of the American population missed their consultation because they could not afford it compared to an average of 11 percent in eleven other high-income countries. With extended supervision of healthcare spending, hospital costs would be lowered, leading to more affordable bills.  

According to, high drug prices are the single biggest area of overspending in the U.S. compared to Europe, where drug prices are government regulated. Research states that the U.S. spends an average of $1,443 per person, compared to $749, on average, spent by the other prosperous countries studied. In the U.S., private insurers can negotiate drug prices with manufacturers, often through the services of pharmacy benefit managers. However, Medicare, which pays for a hefty percentage of the national drug costs, is not permitted to negotiate prices with manufacturers. Some recommendations from a report on to lower prescription drug prices is to allow the federal government to become a more responsible purchaser and fix incentives in the drug supply chain and make the supply chain more transparent to consumers.

As an aspiring physician, I do not want to be another cog in the healthcare machine. My patients shouldn’t have to compromise between a life-saving surgery or bankruptcy. I want to lower healthcare costs by lowering the number of medical tests for patients and advocating to let Medicare negotiate prescription drug costs for consumers.