Health care in America is an insane mess

Markus Meneses/The Collegian
Markus Meneses/The Collegian

The American health care system is an incredibly expensive and even more confusing mess that leaves many college students having to take chances with their health because they can’t afford anything else.

As it is, the continued health and prosperity of a large number of Americans is at stake with the current way the system is being handled. The perils of the so-called “land of the free” has an incredibly expensive health insurance landscape that is well known across the globe.

Many people are too afraid to take an ambulance even if they’re in need of serious and immediate help – just because of the cost. According to the city of Irving’s Fire Department, the fee for basic life support in an ambulance ride starts at $650. That’s before any extra fees regarding any additional care needed and how many miles the patient will have to ride. This is with insurance.

College students, especially younger ones, barely have the funds to fill up their tank to get to school, much less have to pay for their own life by the mile.

The actual world of health insurance itself is a scary place as well, and many are already having to contend with the twists and turns it takes to be able to afford to live.

According to an American Community Survey brief, in 2019 15.6% of young adults ages 19 to 34 were uninsured, with 26-year-olds having the highest uninsured rate. Coincidentally, 26 is when most children are kicked off their parents insurance and then have to go find their own plans and even that’s tough.

When trying to go out and look for an insurance plan that would cover even the bare minimum, the premiums are still often times too much for a college student with bills to be able to afford. Even the most basic plans in Texas, called bronze plans, can cost $306 per month in 2022. That’s almost half of some people’s rent. How can college students be expected to care for themselves under these circumstances?

This system is incredibly broken, and the ones who are getting run over are the young adults who are supposed to have their whole lives in front of them. How can they see the possibility of their future when they’re weighed down by the realization that the care they need to get there will be incredibly expensive.

There are some government health care programs such as Medicaid, which provides health care coverage with low income, but many college students can fall into what’s called the “Medicaid Gap” where you are still poor but not poor enough for the government to actually care to help.

These people are more likely to go without coverage and even go out of their way to avoid getting treatment and taking care of themselves. This gap shows just how insane it is trying to just live a normal life in America can be. Some would rather die than have to face the medical bills that would come with living.

This system is a privatized and confusing mess that has made it so people need to use crowd-funding websites like GoFundMe to raise funds to pay for their medical bills. If our system wasn’t so divided the population wouldn’t have such a universally terrible time with these basic needs.

The bottom line is that life is incredibly hard for college students and young adults as it is, why should health insurance be another rock added to the already sinking ship? The American health care system is a joke at the expense of lower income brackets who might have to choose between being able to pay for a life-saving medical procedure, or being able to afford putting food on the table. 

The next time you hear an ambulance siren racing down the highway, just think about the medical bill that will come from it and hope it’s not you next.