Healthcare for All: What Needs to be Done to Make Healthcare Truly Accessible

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Better access to healthcare can end poverty in America. How might this work you might ask? Well, if we were to make healthcare available to all Americans then we are removing one stressor from the lives of American people living at and under the poverty level. They will not have to be worry about how they are going to pay the hospital bill for bringing their six year old, who has a terrible cough, to the hospital instead of paying their rent for the month.  They will not have to worry about being able to put food on the table because they have to pay for their prescription.

The Affordable Care Act is the step in the right direction for American Healthcare. The Affordable Care Act will offer most uninsured people a range of preventative medical services. Children will have medical, dental, and vision coverage until 19 years old regardless of a disability or pre-existing condition. As great as all of this sounds, there are certain individuals who still might not qualify for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. These people could be a parent of young children.

Without a doubt, healthcare coverage is expensive. When a person has a child they want to make sure to take care of their child the best that they can and healthcare coverage is often one of the ways to care for the child. Often low-income families will acquire coverage for their children while the parents have no coverage. This is a positive step because the children have access to healthcare. However, as they say when you are on an airplane, “please put on your oxygen mask before you help someone else put on their oxygen mask.” This means that parents need to also care for their own healthcare needs in order to best care for their children’s healthcare needs. If parents do not care for their own healthcare needs first then they will not adequately be able to care for the healthcare needs of their children.

If a parent does not have healthcare coverage and gets ill there will be even more of a hardship placed upon the family unit. When faced with an illness without healthcare coverage the family is faced with added expenses and stress. The parent might have to miss work because they have to rest or receive treatments.  This experience can cause strain to the children because the children see that their parents are dealing with a difficult situation.  This strain upon the child can cause issues with the children’s health and can add even more stress to the family.

Children living in poverty are more likely than their wealthier counterparts to develop illness, such as asthma or diabetes, and not to receive medical treatment for them. With one in five child in the United States living in poverty, something more must be done to help to insure access to quality healthcare.

There should be an increase in school-based healthcare, such as immunizations or screenings. This availability would help parents to not have to add another task to their day but instead help to take one more concern off their plate while still having their children receive the medical care that they need.  Schools and community centers could also offer classes to families about the importance of healthy eating and other healthcare related topics. If the programs were school and community-based the families would be more likely to utilize them, as they are already comfortable with these relationships.  As we make our way to “universal” healthcare it is important to think of ways to expand healthcare knowledge without forcing families to go outside of their comfort settings but instead to go to where the families are comfortable.

Written by

Jennifer Lubold
Class of 2015
Developmental Psychology and Child Life Dual Degree

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