Dr. Sameer Suhail on the Issue of Healthcare Access in the US
In today’s world, healthcare technology is evolving at an amazing pace. We have access to treatments and technologies that were once only dreamed of. However, even as healthcare technology continues to evolve, many patients worldwide have no access to the services they need. There are a number of reasons for this lack of access. In some parts of the world, healthcare facilities are simply not available. In others, the cost of healthcare is prohibitive. And in still others, political turmoil or natural disasters make it difficult for patients to get the care they need. In this article, Dr. Sameer Suhail explores the different barriers to healthcare access in the United States.
First, there are transportation or geographic barriers to healthcare access. The nearest doctor or hospital could be miles away for patients in rural areas. This has made it difficult for some individuals to get regular checkups or treatments for chronic conditions. Studies have shown that more than three million Americans are unable to receive medical care every year because of issues with transportation. In addition, 4% of children in the U.S. miss their medical appointments for the same reason.
Historically, individuals with mobility issues have often been unable to access healthcare services without substantial assistance. For example, individuals who rely on wheelchairs or walkers are often unable to reach healthcare clinics on their own, even when these facilities are easily accessible by public transportation. Fortunately, recent improvements to public transportation systems have led to a growing wave of ridesharing services that have helped thousands of people with mobility issues get the healthcare they need. These innovative services allow users to request rides from local drivers at the push of a button, reducing the need for costly transportation options like taxis and medical transport vans. As a result, individuals who would otherwise have struggled to access healthcare can now receive the treatment and care they deserve. However, these may not be possible or available in most areas.
Other population groups that have found it difficult to access necessary healthcare services due to mobility challenges are the elderly and those with mobility impairments. As Dr. Sameer Suhail notes, nearly 15% of Americans are senior citizens, and around 25% of U.S. adults live with a disability. For either of these groups, in particular, it can be stressful and time-consuming to get to and from doctor’s appointments, especially if they do not have family or friends who can help them with transportation.
Another common barrier to healthcare access is financial. In the U.S., around one in four adults does not have health insurance. This number has been increasing over the years as the costs of premiums continue to rise. Those underinsured often have to pay out-of-pocket for medical services, which can be very costly. A study done in 2016 found that around 27% of American adults delayed getting medical care because they could not afford it.
There are many other barriers to healthcare access, but these are the most common. It is important to be aware of these issues so that people can find ways to help those who are struggling to get the care they need. Improving access to healthcare is essential in ensuring that everyone has a chance to live a healthy and happy life.