As of today, June 8, 2020, there have been 7 million cases of COVID19 worldwide and 402,555 deaths. The US has the worst COVID19 track record with 2 million cases and 110,514 deaths. Although the US has 4.25% of the world’s population, we have had 28% of the cases and 28% of the deaths.
Why does the US have such a dismal track record in fighting the novel coronavirus? I thought we had the “best healthcare system in the world.” We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but when you look at our public health data and our response to COVID19, we definitely do not have the best system in the world.
The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not have a national health plan that guarantees care for all residents. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a nice try, but its efficacy and affordability have been whittled away by Republicans in Congress.
Why is the US response to COVID19 so disorganized and inadequate? Before the pandemic, we had an over-priced, inequitable system based upon profit and a just-in-time supply chain of personnel, equipment and beds. The novel coronavirus turned the spotlight on inadequacies and inequities of our health care system. In the United States, the health care you get depends on your income and your ZIP Code– not your needs. If you’re a resident of the United States you should have access to the same healthcare across the country. A person living in Chinle should have the same access to care as a person living in Paradise Valley. Now the person in Chinle not only does not have adequate medical care, they may not have running water or passable roads.
It’s time for change. We’ve known for a long time that in the US the drugs are too expensive, the insurance is too expensive and the care is too expensive. Far too many Americans are going bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills. The ACA expanded coverage but did not improve medical bankruptcy. Many people who have insurance are underinsured because they buy the insurance they can afford and not the insurance they need.￼ this makes them extremely vulnerable if they get a diagnosis of something like cancer. The rest of the world thinks were crazy by allowing our residents to live in sickness and poverty. It’s time for equity in health care.￼￼
14 states and Puerto Rico hit highest seven-day average of new coronavirus infections (Yes, Arizona is one of the states in which the virus is spiraling out of contorl.)
COVID19 information at the Arizona Department of Health Services