Cost Of Living: Soaring Healthcare Costs Causing Crisis


    This year has seen a record-breaking number of measles cases nationwide, with over 760 instances of the disease so far this year. This is the highest number of cases in 25 years, especially since the CDC declared the disease eradicated in 2000. However, this is not the only instance in which healthcare and public health has been suffering in the United States recently. With healthcare costs rising, many people are avoiding or skipping necessary treatments and forms of preventive care, creating a nationwide health crisis with high costs for many.

    Climbing Costs Of Care

    Prices of health care have been steadily climbing in recent years, and while some increases are the normal result of inflation, many of the costs of care are now beyond what many Americans are able to afford. This is especially true for those who are under-insured or in debt; in these cases, a small medical emergency could risk driving someone into extreme debt. Nearly 80% of Americans are struggling with debt, and many of these people were put into this position due to unexpected medical costs.

    Even those insured through their employer are frequently running into trouble with climbing deductibles and high costs. In the last 12 years, average annual deductibles in employer-based health plans have nearly quadrupled, despite salaries not rising to match. This puts many into precarious positions regarding health costs, even when healthy; the costs for those with pre-existing conditions may be even harsher.

    Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

    As costs continue to climb, many are having to take drastic measures to make ends meet. Insulin, for example, has become far more expensive in the past few years alone, forcing some diabetics to purchase their insulin pumps and other medical equipment used. According to the American Association of Diabetes Educators, there were a reported 30.3 million people living with diabetes at the end of 2017. For diabetics and others with chronic illness, soaring costs mean drastic measures.

    Those with chronic conditions aren’t the only ones being pushed to potentially dangerous measures. Many people are choosing to skip on vaccinations and other preventive treatments for themselves and their families as a means of making ends meet. Vaccines prevent more than 2.5 million unnecessary deaths every year, and too many people skipping on necessary immunizations weakens herd immunity that protects people who cannot receive vaccinations due to other health concerns. In fact, an increasing number of people skipping immunizations may have contributed to 2019’s serious measles outbreak nationwide.

    Healthcare In Crisis

    With healthcare costs continuing to rise, it’s difficult to say what the future holds for the millions of Americans struggling to pay medical bills. Especially considering the first wave of baby boomers are already in their 70s and 52% percent of people turning age 65 who will need some type of long-term care services in their lifetimes. Cutting corners as many have been can prove to be a dangerous route, but those skipping on preventive care or necessary treatments often have no other choice in the matter. Without major overhauls to health insurance and medical costs, many Americans will likely continue to suffer from poor healthcare, preventable diseases, and missed medication.