democracy is a work in progress

Problem Definition

Three broad challenges stand out in the American healthcare system as they relate to access to healthcare:

Lack of insurance: Tens of millions of Americans lack healthcare insurance or are underinsured, meaning their out-of-pocket healthcare costs or their plan deductibles took up at least 5% of their annual incomes. Lack of adequate coverage limits access to needed healthcare, as many who lack sufficient insurance will face severe financial hardship if they seek treatment for a serious illness.

Soaring costs: The US pays more per person for healthcare than other industrialized countries, but trails in most indicators of population health. Healthcare spending now accounts for 17% of our economy. Plus, rising costs crowd out other social needs and priorities.

Shortage of providers: Many patients experience difficulty finding care because of healthcare provider and facility shortages. While a factor in some urban communities, this problem is worse in rural America.

Related Problems: National Debt, Income & Wealth Inequality

Contributors: Eric Seaborg, Ciara McLarenGeorge Linzer

Published: May 27, 2021

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