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As COVID-19 cases spread across the United States, the shortcomings of healthcare in America are more obvious than ever. This global pandemic has shined a light on these inadequacies for all the world to see.
With so many uncertainties, many are wondering whether the U.S. is on the verge of a healthcare overhaul. There’s no way to predict how healthcare in this country will operate down the road, though. The U.S. needs to get the pandemic under control before considering the bigger picture.
There’s still plenty to think about, though. Here are some of the biggest healthcare problems the U.S. has experienced since the start of the pandemic.
Check out the American Healthcare System
A Growing Uninsured Population
To stop the spread of coronavirus this spring, most states brought their economies to a grinding halt. Governments mandated business closures in various sectors and limited how other industries operated.
While these shutdowns saved lives, the pocketbooks of many Americans took a hit. In May, 21 million people were unemployed. That’s more than 13% of the country’s workforce.
It’s estimated that about 5.4 million people lost their health insurance during this period due to COVID-19-related job loss.
That’s a lot of uninsured people descending upon the American healthcare system. And as the economy reopened, not all these lost jobs bounced back, leaving many to wonder how they will pay for their medical care.
Healthcare disparities among minority populations have long been a concern in the United States. This imbalance is more obvious than ever thanks to the pandemic.
Studies suggest that African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately affected by coronavirus. They’re three times as likely as white individuals to be infected by COVID-19 and nearly twice as likely to die from it.
These disparities are uniform across the country from urban areas to rural communities.
Unprepared for a Pandemic
It’s been obvious from the beginning of the pandemic how unprepared this country was. The U.S. healthcare system wasn’t ready to take on a crisis like this.
It’s been difficult for many exposed to the virus or who are symptomatic to access COVID-19 testing. Many of the tests out there are also reportedly unreliable and inaccurate.
It’s important to note in this article that hospitals were also unprepared to care for the influx of coronavirus patients. Many have inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment for their staff. In some cases, there has also been a lack of drugs, ventilators, and even beds for those who are sick.
Elective Procedures Rescheduled
Many U.S. hospitals are currently overwhelmed by coronavirus cases. Because of this, many have rescheduled elective surgeries and diagnostic procedures. This means a financial hit for these medical facilities.
Once the pandemic crisis passes, the American healthcare system faces a backlog of elective surgical procedures. So, the system will be overwhelmed in a different way.
Hospital Staff Layoffs
You’d think medical professionals would be essential during a health crisis. But COVID-19 has led to layoffs and furloughs at hospitals around the country.
This is because many elective procedures have been canceled due to the virus. These cancellations have led to medical facilities losing money. As a result, they’ve had to lay off staff.
What’s Next for Healthcare in America?
It’s difficult to predict the future of healthcare in America as the coronavirus pandemic rages across the country. The number of cases in the United States has grown exponentially in recent weeks.
Until COVID-19 is controlled in the U.S., the country won’t be able to address some of the egregious healthcare issues that have been exposed.