Seattle, WA

Should Seattle Reduce The Cost Of Healthcare?

Matt Lillywhite

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It's no secret that medical bills can be extremely expensive - especially for those without insurance or a way to pay for treatment. Honestly, it's not surprising that medical debt is incredibly common in the USA. Quoting an article published by USA Today:

"In August, consumer finance company Credit Karma conducted an analysis of nearly 20 million members in the U.S. and found that they have a total of $45 billion of medical debt in collections, which averages to about $2,200 of debt per member."

About a third of working Americans are in some kind of medical debt, with nearly a quarter of those with a balance owing $10,000 or more. According to a recent study conducted by Salary Finance of over 2,700 U.S. individuals employed at businesses with more than 500 employees, over 54 percent of people with medical debt have defaulted on those bills.

That's not good. Regardless of your financial situation, healthcare shouldn't be something you have to worry about. In my opinion, there shouldn't be a choice between putting food on the table or paying an ambulance bill. It's clear the healthcare system needs a massive overhaul.

Let's look at other countries to gain ideas on how the healthcare system in Washington state could be improved.

According to The Commonwealth Fund, "All English residents are automatically entitled to free public health care through the National Health Service, including hospital, physician, and mental health care. The National Health Service budget is funded primarily through general taxation."

Similarly, in Australia, another developed nation, the government provides essential hospital treatment, doctor appointments, and medicine for free and only charges for non-emergency services. So, to put everything into perspective, you're not going to get a massive medical bill if you have a horrific accident and don't have insurance.

The United States spends a lot more money per capita ($10,996 in 2019) on healthcare than many other developed countries. For example, the U.S spends 42% more than Switzerland, which has the next highest per capita expenditure on healthcare. So, it's clear that a lot of the money is being spent very inefficiently. And perhaps if the budget was spent with a little more caution, the cost of healthcare per citizen could drastically reduce.

But what do you think? Should the city of Seattle reduce the cost of Healthcare? Or should it continue to charge ridiculous rates for medical treatment? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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