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America’s economy is consistently becoming worse, people can barely pay for food much less their bills. The economy is preventing citizens from receiving the care they need throughout their everyday lives. Healthcare is not very affordable for those without a steady income especially when they are without insurance as well. When it comes to healthcare having insurance could be a tremendous help to paying off medical bills. Hospitals, their employees, and patients are all greatly affected by America’s financial status. Physicians and hospitals make their money off patients and their insurance; however, patients lose money by visiting hospitals and physicians. Which leaves many Americans wondering if doctors should help patients no matter their financial situation. Although free healthcare would be very beneficial to those struggling financially, medical professionals and hospitals would be at a huge disadvantage; therefore, doctors should not provide free healthcare.
Many Americans are faced with financial problems that result in poor situations and decisions regarding their healthcare such as; lack of insurance, poor nutrition, reluctance towards professional help, and much more. Most hospitals’ main revenue come from patient insurance, operations, and testing (Broker). If a patient cannot afford insurance nor medical help, hospitals can lose thousands of dollars maybe even millions by providing free healthcare (“How the Economy Is Affecting Hospitals.”). Many Americans feel that people who financially struggle and need medical attention deserve to be given an opportunity to receive medical help even if they cannot pay the majority of their medical bills. A lot of doctors have performed pro bonos in order to help those in need who are suffering financially, yet the public is not made aware of this (“SHOULE MEDICAL SOCIETIES REQUIRE DOCTORS TO DO PRO BONO WORK?”). Hospitals can also set up payment plans to help struggling patients find a better way to pay off their bills instead of going into instant debt (Rosato). This helps not only the patient but the doctors and hospitals as well, for the patient can pay off their bills at a steady rate and the doctors and hospitals will not be losing any money. Morally speaking doctors should help those in need even if the patient cannot afford it; however, doctors would be losing money and so would hospitals, so while the patient is benefitting the medical professionals would be at a disadvantage.
If doctors provided free healthcare, they would not receive paychecks and eventually no one would want to work as a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, or as any other medical professional. Not being paid would result in them not having money to pay for food, clothes, or other necessities. If no one worked as a medical professional, society would not have healthcare and people would become sick at a faster rate since no one would be there to prevent the illness from spreading. The death rate would be higher, due to the number of professionals being lower. Medical professionals help patients to overcome sickness, they prescribe medications, order tests, perform surgeries, and much more to help their patients wellbeing (Broker). Without all of these things people would be constantly ill and have no way of getting better. People in medical professions deserve to be paid for what they do especially since they spent so much time and money in school to be where they are now. Most hospitals try and work with the patient to make sure they can pay their bills. Medical professionals are needed in today’s society, for without them the world would suffer tremendously (Pyles).
Physicians work hard all throughout college and medical school, losing thousands of dollars in the process, in order to perform a job, they love and make a decent amount of money while doing it. Hospitals and doctors make most of their money from “technical and professional fees” (Broker). Physicians that read and order tests receive the “professional fee” (Broker). While hospitals receive the “technical fee”, which is the larger fee of the two, by performing operations, procedures and other things (Broker). Due to the economy and the number of unemployed citizens in America, hospitals have gone through many cutbacks, such as letting people go, downsizing equipment and machinery, and cutting spending. Since some people cannot afford healthcare nor insurance, they decide to visit clinics or community offices and receive minimum care to subside their symptoms and illnesses. By doing this, hospitals lose money because they have lost potential patients and said patients do not receive the care they need (“How the Economy is Affecting Hospitals.”). People deserve to have nothing but the best medical care available to them; however, the cost to having medical care and insurance plays a huge role in why there are so many cities in poverty that are struck with illnesses throughout America. Free healthcare would be very beneficial to those struggling financially, some doctors have performed pro bonos for patients in need and others offer payment plans, so it is important for one to talk to their doctors and nurses to find out a way to lessen their medical bills (Frank).
If someone were to be rushed into the hospital in an emergency, how much money that person could pay would not matter. It is the doctor, nurse, and any other medical professional’s job to get that person stabilized no matter the person’s financial status. A person cannot be sent away because they appear to have no money, if it is an emergency there are laws set in place to help that person until they are stabilized. According to the “Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act” even if the patient is unable to pay, the doctors must do everything they can to make sure the patient is stabilized before they can present the patient with medical bills (US Legal, Inc.). However, after the patient has been stabilized any further medical operations, testing, and other things will be billed to the patient. It is a doctor’s job to save people but they also must be paid for their service so they cannot provide free care to everyone. As much as doctors would like to help their patients in any way they can they must also keep in mind that their paychecks could become less and their place of employment could potentially become bankrupt. The patients’ bills cover the medial professionals check and the hospitals revenue, by providing free healthcare the doctor and hospital will lose money (US Legal, Inc.).
Healthcare is very expensive nowadays, some patients cannot afford it resulting in hospitals losing a lot of their money, doctors should not provide free care for they will be greatly affected by the loss of revenue. The economy today seems as if it is doing just fine, yet there are middle class and lower-class citizens who cannot pay their house bill or even provide food for their families, much less pay off their medical bills. One trip to the emergency room could leave a patient in thousands of dollars of debt. Hospitals can help patients to set up payment plans so that the hospitals and doctors can receive their revenue and the patient will not have to pay off their bill all at once. The patient could gradually pay it off so that it will not cause them anymore financial problems. Doctors cannot handout free care constantly, their salaries would show an extensive downsize. In conclusion, it would be unfair to medical professionals if they provided free healthcare more often.
- Broker, Brad. “How Does a Hospital Make Money?” Physicians News, 16 Oct. 2012, www.physiciansnews.com/2006/11/16/how-does-a-hospital-make-money/.
- Frank, Eric, et al. “Pro Bono Work and Nonmedical Volunteerism Among U.S. Women Physicians.” Medscape Log In, www.medscape.com/viewarticle/461567_4.
- “How the Economy is Affecting Hospitals.” www.rncentral.com/nursinglibrary/how_theeconomy_is_affecting_hospitals.
- Pyles, Sean. “6 Options to Pay Off Your Medical Debt.” NerdWallet. 13 Dec. 2018. NerdWallet. 22 Feb. 2019 https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/pay-medical-debt/.
- Rosato, Donna. “Should You Ever Prepay a Hospital Bill?” Product Reviews and Ratings – Consumer Reports, www.consumerreports,org/healthcare-costs/prepay-hospital-bill/.
- “SHOULD MEDICAL SOCIETIES REQUIRE DOCTORS TO DO PRO BONO WORK?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 9 July 1991, www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/wellness/1991/07/09/should-medical-societies-require-doctors-to-do-pro-bono-work/60a5flba-5212-4d64-b0ef-654ccfle82ef/?noredirect=on&utm-term=00273eeaa875.
- US Legal, Inc. “The Right to Treatment.” Healthcare, www.healthcare.uslegal.com/patient-rights/the-right-to-treatment/.
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