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Emergency medical cross symbol

Why pay top dollar for health coverage when you’re not getting your money’s worth?

We’ve been led to believe that the more expensive a product or service is, the higher it’s quality is. The reality is that providers realize they can charge as much as they want for products and services that people need or want that badly, even if the quality is nowhere near worth the price; such is the nature of capitalism. This principle unfortunately applies to American healthcare; America pays more than most other countries for medical coverage, but doesn’t have the glorious record of excellent overall health that would accompany the high spending.

According to a study by the commonwealth fund, America ranked lowest in a group of 11 countries at preventing infant mortality, and general mortality due to lack of timely, effective care. It’s also more difficult in America to receive non-emergency care outside of typical business hours (evenings, weekends and holidays) than in other countries. It seems that despite the high costs we pay for healthcare, we still can’t necessarily get it when we need it, which can lead to casualties. And not only do we have liable treatment options when we get sick, we have liable safeguards to prevent us from getting sick in the first place.

The Food and Drug Administration is in charge of ensuring that the food we eat is free of harmful bacteria and fit for consumption. Theoretically, the FDA is a safety net against food contamination, but unfortunately that net has rather large tears in it. Recent consumer reports found bacteria in 60 percent of their samples of frozen shrimp purchased from 27 cities across the country. The FDA is responsible for inspecting shrimp before it hits the market, but last year they examined less than 4 percent of foreign shipments of shrimp and tested less than 1 percent. And this is besides a list of other foods that contain harmful substances.

It doesn’t seem fair to have to pay so much for mediocre healthcare service, especially when we’re forced to do so because the people who’re supposed to safeguard us against disease don’t do their job. Maybe it’s time we adopted a universal health care plan in which the overall cost is spread out among all of us.