One of the greatest issues of social equity in the contemporary United States is the issue of access to healthcare. In the last few decades, the cost of healthcare has skyrocketed, and as such, most Americans cannot access basic healthcare services without health insurance. However, affordability presents another barrier to the ability of the average American to obtain health insurance coverage. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, or “Obamacare,” the United States government has attempted to address the problem of health insurance; however, even with subsidized rates on health insurance, many Americans cannot even afford the coverage that is offered through the ACA. Indeed, there are public health clinics that are available for the indigent and uninsured. However, these “free” clinics often provide substandard health care service, and are often not staffed by a physician with an M.D., but rather Physician’s Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses. It is little wonder that medical bills are the major reason for personal bankruptcy in this nation, and that is a travesty (Mahoney, 2015). The United States is the only developed nation that requires its citizens to lose everything in order to remain healthy and alive, and this is a situation that needs to change.
As far as lowering the cost of healthcare, one good place to start is by forcing pharmaceutical companies to stop investing so much effort into producing non-essential medications, like Viagra, and provide them with incentives to produce cheaper essential medications (Bodenheimer, 2005). Another way to lower costs of healthcare, and improve access, would be to provide medical doctors with incentives to offer their services on a pro bono basis to poor people, perhaps through a governmental discharge of student loan debt in exchange for such services rendered. With regards to the continued lack of access to health insurance, the government should make Medicaid available to middle-class Americans, not simply the exceptionally poor.

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  • Bodenheimer, T. (2005). “High and Rising Health Care Costs. Part 1: Seeking an Explanation.” Annals of Internal Medicine 142 (10), 847-54.
  • Mahoney, N. (2015). “Bankruptcy as Implicit Health Insurance.” The American Economic Review 105 (2), 710-746.