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Avi Parshionikar

The United State’s Healthcare system has become increasingly scrutinized in recent

times, at first with the candidate Bernie Sanders bringing many of its flaws to light. Now, this

scrutiny has expanded to the United State public health system in general when under the strain

of the coronavirus and the massive influx of patients to hospitals all over the country. This leads

me to my current research question. How effective is the United States’ public health system?

After gathering many sources and reading through them, I started to notice many similar facts

and claims about the healthcare system.

Many sources stated that the United States spends the most on healthcare compared to

many other countries in Europe and Asia. Many sources also discussed how the US doesn’t rely

on a centralized system which handles healthcare, and rather leaves the people on their own to

get healthcare from private providers. So why does the United States have such comparatively

high costs for healthcare? According to the Department of Professional Employees, one of the

factors is the fact that the United States is the money that goes into developing new technologies

and in testing new drugs and innovative health solutions. While this is a great initiative, many of

the demands for these new drugs and technologies are not cost effective. Another reason for the

high cost of healthcare is thought to be the prevalence of chronic diseases like obesity and heart

disease. This is an example of how intangible things like the American lifestyle has concrete

repercussions on the economy and national spending.

The American Public Health Association stated that the Affordable Care Act was a good

way to reduce this unsustainable spending on healthcare. According to the American Public

Health Association, the Affordable Care Act helped 20 million people get access to healthcare,

and it placed an emphasis on public funded healthcare, so that more money is spent on

preventing chronic diseases like heart disease and obesity rather than treating them, which would
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ultimately reduce the total amount spent on healthcare. However, in 2017, most policies which

were encompassed by the Affordable Care Act was repealed by the Trump Administration.

According to Charley E. Willison in the National Institute of Health journal, congressional

republicans targeted the part of the affordable care act which guarantees essential health benefits,

which are minimum insurance benefits. By preventing the guarantee of these essential health

benefits, insurers would be able to create less comprehensive, but cheaper plans which would

ultimately reduce a part of the national spending on healthcare. The current presidential

administration has taken a different approach to reducing the cost of healthcare, and repealing

parts of the Affordable Care Act was only the first step.

The action taken against policies instilled by Obama has led to a lot of misconceptions

about what’s good for the healthcare system and what isn’t. Trump’s administration passed a

new system in place of the Affordable Care Act called the Affordable Health Care Act, and

many republicans or people who support this decision are under the notion that this new act

remodels the whole healthcare system or destroys Obama’s “harmful” policies. In reality the

Affordable Health Care Act makes the provision of essential health benefits optional to states,

giving them the choice to refuse to provide them. Most states, however, still uphold most of what

was outlined in the Affordable Care Act, according to the Charley E. Willison.

While there’s clearly a lot more research to be done, the United States’ healthcare system

has some very apparent flaws, most notably the large number of people who are still uninsured in

addition to the prevalence of chronic diseases in America despite the fact that America spends

the most GDP on healthcare compared to any other country. While some policies like the

Affordable Care Act played to the notion that a small amount of spending from everyone would
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decrease the total spending in the long run, many current policies have tried to repeal or reduce

these effects from previous administrations.

Avi Parshionikar

Works Cited

Barrows, Katie. “The U.S. Health Care System: An International Perspective - Department for
Professional Employees, AFL.” CIO, Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO,
15 Aug. 2016,

Duarte, Catherine. “Applications of the American Public Health Association's Statement on

Addressing Law Enforcement Violence as a Public Health Issue.” Sinclair Library, 2018,

Eyal, Nir, and Manne Sjöstrand. “On Knowingly Setting Unrealistic Goals in Public Health.”
American Journal of Public Health, vol. 110, no. 4, Apr. 2020, pp. 480–484.,

Hanlon, Phil. “Summary of the Public Health System in the United States.” The Future of Public
Health., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1988,



Lee, Lisa M., et al. “Public Health Code of Ethics: Deliberative Decision-Making and Reflective
Practice.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 110, no. 4, 2020, pp. 489–491.,

Reed, Patrick, director. Undiagnosed: The Diabetes Epidemic., PBS, 2020,

Robert Pearl, M.D. “Https://

Public-Health-System-Us.html.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 18 Sept. 2019,



Willison, Charley E, and Phillip M Singer. “Repealing the Affordable Care Act Essential Health
Benefits: Threats and Obstacles.” American Journal of Public Health, American Public
Health Association, Aug. 2017,

Woolf, Steven H., and Laudan Aron. U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives,
Poorer Health. National Academies Press, 2013.
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