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Samantha LeRoy, Contributor
September 18, 2012
Filed under Top Stories

The cost of medical care is at an all-time high in the United States. The higher cost of health seems to come at the worst timing for many Americans, who are struggling to pay for their basic needs like electricity, food and water. Today, having quality, affordable health care is a luxury for the average citizen.

Marcie Edmonds of Chandler, Arizona knows all about outrageous medical bills. According to USA Today, she was stung in the abdomen by a scorpion and began feeling a tingling sensation. Soon she had trouble breathing and walking. During a three-hour hospital visit she was treated with two doses of Anascorp, a common antivenom,

The hospital charged her $39,652 per dose of Anascorp. Her insurance paid $57,509, but Edmonds was asked to pay the remaining $25,537 and an additional $1,302 for the cost of an emergency room physician.

If this happens to Edmonds again she would be better off driving beyond U.S. borders for treatment.  In Mexico, a dose of Anascorp costs about $100.

President Obama’s health care reform plan, known as Obamacare, has been at the forefront of health care conversations. Obamacare has been criticized by many Americans, calling it a step toward socialism and unconstitutional. However,

The Supreme Court recently ruled it constitutional, and on the White House website, it explains the latest news on his reform plan. Some of the provisions include new state insurance exchanges and making sure no American is denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

Also stated on President Obama’s website, before health care reform, insurance companies spent 40 percent of premiums on overhead and administrative costs.

With Obamacare, insurance companies are required to spend 80 percent of the premium on our health care, not raises for the already wealthy.

An estimated 12.8 million Americans will receive a rebate at an average of $151 per household.

Also, 3.1 million young Americans have gained health coverage. Before the Affordable Care Act, young people had to leave their parents’ health insurance as soon as they turned 18, unless they continued their education.

However, with the new health care reform, young adults can stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26. This is good news for recently graduated high school and college students, considering the lack of jobs on the market today. This will give young Americans the chance to get on their feet before worrying about how to pay medical bills.

However, even with laws like the ACA, the cost of healthcare is still out of control.  So why are we spending so much money on health care compared to other countries? Why can’t some Americans afford health care?

Todd Hixon of Forbes.com, questioned the same thing. His research showed the U.S. spent about $7,000 per capita in 2008 on health care. Countries like Japan and the U.K. spent about half that amount, and they still maintain good results in life expectancy. Keep this in mind in the future: it may be more affordable to fly to the U.K. and see one of their doctors than it is to seek medical help locally.

For the sake of curiosity, let’s see how much health care would be for a 22-year-old, single, childless female. According to getinsured.com, if I only want wellness and emergency room visits to be covered I can pay just under $50 a month. However, it would be nice for my medication to be covered. This bumps me up to $60 – $70 a month. Some plans do not cover doctor visits, and others make patients pay up to 30% of the cost. Now let’s talk deductibles. Obviously the lower the deductible the better, but in my price range I could potentially spend $10,000 out-of-pocket for a hospital visit.

Call me un-American, but for how advanced our country is supposed to be, our health care should be just as advanced.

It’s an upsetting thought that our neighboring countries, Canada and Mexico, have more affordable health care than the United States. Everyone should be able to have doctor visits and medication without worrying about breaking the bank — otherwise we’re basically saying that one life is more valuable than another.

According to Canadian-healthcare.org, Canada has socialized health insurance that provides coverage to all Canadian citizens. It is publically funded through taxes and is regulated by the federal government. Their system provides individuals with preventative care, medical treatments, primary care physicians, access to hospitals, dental surgery and additional medical services. Canada has one of the highest life expectancies of any industrialized country.

Many Americans are against a socialized health care system like Canada’s, but at least under their system every citizen is allowed the right to health coverage, no matter what walk of life. In the U.S. we are playing survival of the fittest, and the ones who have the most are taken care of the best.

Others are left to choose between a doctor visit and food on the table. The U.S. is based on the idea that all men should be treated equal, but our health care is just another instance where that’s not true.

With health care being a huge issue in the next election, it is safe to say that our country still doesn’t know

the best way to solve the crisis. If the insurance companies are unregulated on how they conduct business, and how they charge patients, there will never be an end to the outrageous prices. Many people disagree with government regulated health care, but it’s the government’s job to protect its citizens.

Obamacare may not have solved all the health care issues, but it’s absolutely one step closer to making a positive impact for many struggling Americans.