The findings of a recent study noted the United States to have higher numbers of death from preventable diseases than the UK despite spending twice as much per person. Thus, there are senseless deaths occurring in our country as a result of illnesses which are otherwise preventable and/or curable.
In addition, due to the fragmented U.S. healthcare system, there are a high number of uninsured individuals. According to a CDC report, there were 42.5 million uninsured adults in 2010 between the ages of 18 and 24. Healthcare carries a high cost in a weakened economy which many cannot afford.
In terms of having qualified healthcare personnel to fill this void, there are no dire straits. According to a U.S. Agency for Healthcare Quality Report, there were about 56,000 nurse practitioners and 30,000 physician assistants providing primary care in 2010.
They are mid-level providers, filling gaps created by declining numbers of practicing primary care physicians. The availability of healthcare providers is great, but there is a lack of appropriate healthcare policy and programs focused on this disparity connecting those in need.
In the end, the consumer suffers lack of quality healthcare simply due to problems in healthcare access. They miss out on the valuable health promotion and disease prevention which is part of primary care. The lack of prevention and early detection of illness will lead to disease and preventable death.
Without access to a healthcare provider, consumers can rely on personal resources for information such as the AfricAm Health Focus Newsletter to stay well and lead healthy lives. Consumers are forced to be more proactive in seeking information and making healthy lifestyle changes to improve and self-promote their health.
The results of the study clearly correlate with the state of the U.S. healthcare system. Power lies in education and action. The UK has a universal healthcare system; healthcare for all. There is a dire need for universal healthcare in our country.
In order to ensure healthcare for all in the U.S., universal healthcare appears to be the only answer. In the interim, there is a special call for creative and innovative ideas for healthcare programs and systems to ensure better preventive care and health monitoring.
It is time to put an end to senseless, preventable deaths.
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