By Jessey Mitchell
This Happened To Me
Would you believe that the American health system is killing us? From my perspective, this is the
case. Shortly after moving to the US from the UK, I unfortunately broke my ankle. It became
apparent to me that the American health system was considerably problematic. It was not an easy
process to get the treatment that I required. Whilst expressing my frustrations to friends, it became
obvious that it was not just me that was having this problem.
Shortly after arriving in the US, I found myself needing to get urgent medical treatment. This turned
out to be a considerable challenge. Once I had located an Urgent Care that I could easily get to, the
x-ray machine was broken. Consequently, I was left in an impossible situation. Being unable to
drive myself, I could not get to the next Urgent Care which was 5 miles away and across a highway.
Eventually, I found a friend to take me and once I reached the practice, it became apparent that
accessing care would not be as easy as I had thought. The time difference meant that reaching the
UK insurance company was out of the question. I had no one to help me work a system that I did
not understand. I observed that many other people also had an issue with their insurance. They
presented themselves as ‘self-paying’ as I had to, leaving the practice with a much lighter purse.
The bills were extortionate. Perhaps many people could claim this back on their insurance after, but
it still left me questioning whether they had enough money to pay for treatment in the first place.
The broken system indicated a clear divide within society. How could anyone with a lower income access the care that they required, especially if it was in an emergency?
My Story Is Not Unique, Here’s The Problem
The problem is that my story of struggling with the American health system is not unique. The
health system within the United States has no universal health coverage and no uniform health
system (Chemweno, 2021). There is a growing trend in health insurance becoming uneven.
Minorities and families that are deprived are lacking in coverage. The US census has stated that
27.5 million low-income workers did not have health insurance. As a consequence of this, 30-90
thousand deaths occur as a result of no insurance coverage (Chemweno, 2021). The rising cost of
treatment is causing an unimaginable burden, especially when a chronic condition is diagnosed as
the requirement of ongoing care puts constant pressure on the patient (Chemweno, 2021). Financial
burdens are not the only problem. Health disparities are also a significant issue (Robert, 2021). The
fragmented care leaves towns and states without adequate healthcare. With hospitals dotted around,
getting to one is incredibly problematic. There is little transport offered in rural areas, and getting to
the hospital can either be achieved by locating a connection with a car or via ambulance which
comes at an additional cost. There is also not a baseline level of care. The lack of
coordination within health care settings results in many people not receiving the correct care once
reaching a hospital (Robert, 2021).
Here Is A Non-Profit Working To Solve The Problem
The Health Well foundation is helping individuals who are unable to pay for their medical bills.
Additionally, they provide support and advice to anyone that is struggling. They have served over
72,700 patients (Healthwellfoundation, n.d). This is such a high number which indicates that their
work really is needed. Without this, all of those people would be struggling. Not only do they
provide support at diagnosis, but individuals can re-enroll for additional funds. The list predominately
includes chronic conditions which is so important. When a patient is diagnosed with a chronic and
life changing condition, it is already devastating without the additional worry of finances. Therefore,
their work is so essential to these vulnerable people (Healthwellfoundation, n.d). Whilst this
organization is solving the short-term financial problem for patients, a better idea would be to review the policy.
Making a drastic change may be necessary for an equal health system. Butler,
(2020) has stated that this could be achieved in just a few steps. A grassroots approach would be a
good start. Creating health clinics and focusing on the social determinants of health would allow
any gaps in medical care to be addressed. Secondly, a change in tax policy could allow universal
subsidies rather than insurance from employment. This coverage could be arranged for everyone.
Lastly, a flexible system would allow for state variation whilst ensuring a fairer system for
everyone. Whilst some of these could be hard to implement immediately, gradual policy change
would allow for a fairer and more accessible system eventually.
Here Is What You Can Do As A Reader To Help, Right Now!
The Health Well foundation relies on donations to provide their level of care. They spend 99% of
each dollar helping to support individuals. The other 1% is on administrative costs
(Healthwellfoundation, n.d). Donations are vital to ensure that they can continue funding medical
bills and helping individuals that require extra support. Whilst donating, you can allocate your funds
to a specific cause, whether it is pediatric care or covid care. The link below is where donations
can be made.
Butler, S. 2020. Achieving an equitable national health system for America. Available at:
[Accessed 27 September].
Chemweno, J. 2021. The U.S Healthcare System Is Broken: A National Perspective. Available at:
national-perspective. [Accessed 27 September].
HealthWellFoundation, n.d Available at: https://www.healthwellfoundation.org/donate/. [Accessed
Roberts, H. 2021. Is our healthcare system broken? Available at:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-our-healthcare-system-broken-202107132542. [Accessed 27