In August of 2022, there was a bill passed called the Inflation Reduction Act which was set to reduce the cost of hospital fees for those on Medi-Cal; however, there would be around 21 million people stuck paying outrageous prices for crucial medicine for their health. As someone parents who both have diabetes, I can see how each one is affected differently when it comes to the cost of it.
The United States health care system is one of the most funded systems in the world compared to other countries and among the worst performing. According to a study by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the United States health care system performs worse when it comes to life expectancy, infant mortality and unmanaged diabetes. This comes as no surprise seeing as diabetes and the sale of insulin is a highly profitable market.
My mother, who is on Medi-Cal, is fortunate enough to receive her insulin at zero cost due to the insurance covering it. On the other hand, my father who has insurance through his job would still roughly pay around $350 for a supply of insulin which is why he travels to Mexico every two months to purchase his insulin prescription for $150 less than what it would cost in the U.S. The estimated cost my father would pay can be considered the lowest price for insulin.
My mother once told me the insurance company accidentally sent her an invoice for the cost of her insulin even though the insurance had already paid for it. I was shocked to know a five pack of insulin pens known as Humalog Kwikpen can cost around $700.
According to Mira health care, the average price to produce this type of pen is less than $1. The Kwikpen is often used by diabetics to inject before meals in order to process the carbohydrates they are about to eat. I have personally seen my mom use this pen once or twice a day at least, sometimes even three. This type of insulin that is very crucial for day-to-day life for diabetics is costing more for them to obtain than it costs for pharmaceuticals to make.
The U.S health care system will do just about anything to charge a patient any small fee. I recently learned through some family friends who had their baby almost a year ago that there is something called a “skin to skin” fee.
Essentially, it is a fee where parents of a newborn are being charged with if they want to hold their newborn directly after birth. The fee is used to cover the cost of an extra person needed to help with the process. The thought of having to pay an extra $39.95 to hold your newborn on top of the already heavily priced labor and delivery procedure is something that is unacceptable.
A mother should not have to pay an extra fee to be allowed to hold a human being they spent nine months creating.
Frustration and hopelessness are the two words my mother often uses to describe her experience with the U.S. health care system.
I was a year-and-a-half-old when my parents were making constant trips to the hospital due to my constantly infected tonsils. The simple solution doctors would recommend was amoxicillin which showed no progress since I would eventually be back a few weeks later with the same problem. My parents eventually felt defeated and decided to consult a family doctor in Mexico.
After one check-up, the doctor concluded that my tonsils were very enlarged and I needed to have surgery as soon as possible. With this result, my parents came back to the states and demanded the doctors that I receive the surgery as soon as possible, which they finally agreed to.
Aside from the health care system being overpriced, the system is broken from within. I have heard countless stories of doctors not listening to their patients. From doctors ignoring my mother’s concern about my tonsil infections to doctors ignoring her current concern about the side effects of a certain medication.
Patients are tired of being ignored and dismissed in a world where doctors are supposed to listen to their patient’s every need and do everything in their power to help them feel better. It seems doctors don’t care about making someone better.
They need patients to be sick in order to collect the money from insurance companies. Insurance companies need people to be sick with complicated diseases in order to collect these outrageous amounts of money from the hospitals and health care providers. The U.S health care industry needs everyone to be ill for it to benefit.
The patients are not the only ones who have been suffering from this broken system. Kaiser Permanente health care workers went on strike Wednesday, Oct. 4. The strike is happening due to the non-profit organization being low-staffed and putting extra strain on the already staffed members.
Health care workers already deal with the everyday stress life gives them and are now forced to do more. Kaiser Permanente Labor and Delivery secretary Miriam De La Paz said to CNN, “It is not okay to have to do the job of two or three people at a time.”
To the future doctors, be the change within this broken system, listen to your patients and their every concern, even if it is extra paperwork or extra research. Finally, to the United States health care system, do better. Stop taking advantage of the hardworking people of this country who give their blood and sweat to have a decent chance of living a good life.