Already high before the pandemic, the debt has now reached levels not seen since World War II. Healthcare spending is one of the biggest drivers of federal spending. Further increases in the national debt may threaten future investment in government solutions to healthcare access.
The pandemic exposed weaknesses in healthcare systems around the world, and the US was no exception. Black, Latino, and Native Americans were more likely to contract, be hospitalized with, and die of COVID-19, revealing the inequities of healthcare access in this country. One uninsured patient received a $34,927.43 bill for her COVID-19 treatment.
Proposals for improving the healthcare infrastructure, including increasing the reach of high speed internet in rural and low-income communities, can strengthen at-risk populations’ contact with the healthcare system. Telehealth is one clear way to deliver care to medical deserts and at the same time reduce overall costs of care. Without high speed internet in those communities, however, telehealth will not close gaps in care.
When estimating the cost of potential government-driven solutions, it will be necessary to define what coverage applies to immigrants, and to understand how many immigrants will be accepted into the country and made eligible on an annual basis. The rate at which new immigrants will be permitted to enter the country, then, is needed for accurate budgeting of healthcare resources.