In Sickness and HealthHealthcare in the United States

Jarin Eisenberg, MA

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This week, you are going to conduct some independent research to compare healthcare coverage in different countries’ healthcare Remember, it is key to focus on several questions when thinking about healthcare:

• Who has access to healthcare and who does not?

• Do disparities in healthcare exist by race, class, and/or gender?

• How much does it cost to deliver healthcare to citizens?

• Should it be a right that all citizens have access to healthcare?

Let’s start with an overview of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare – the biggest change to the healthcare system in more than 50 years.

Please click the following link to view the video: The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation. (2013). The YouToons get ready for Obamacare. Retrieved July 27, 2017, from

Now that you have reviewed an overview of how the ACA is structured, let’s look at some data that helps us understand how this public issue is affecting individual biographies. Remember, you can use the data presented here as a baseline for comparison with the country and healthcare system you research.

How has the rate of uninsured changed since the implementation of Obamacare?

Well, let’s start by looking at the rate of uninsured from a historical perspective.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation. (2016). Key facts about the uninsured population.

[Graph illustrating uninsured rate in the nonelderly population] Accessed on July 27, 2017,


In 2010, 49.95 million people did not have health insurance. By 2011, that number had decreased by 1.34 million to 48.61 million. Three years after the implementation of ACA, in 2015, 28.5 million people were without coverage.

Click on the following link to further explore the impact of Obamacare through four, interactive maps: The Impact of Obamacare

Source: Sanger-Katz, M., and Bui, Q. (2016). The impact of Obamacare, in four maps. The New York Times. Retrieved on July 27, 2017, from

With the changes to the healthcare system, why are so many people still uninsured?

Kaiser Family Foundation. (2015). [Graph illustrating poll results: Primary reasons for being uninsured among uninsured nonelderly adults]. Key facts about the uninsured population. Retrieved August 8, 2017 from:

• In 2015, nearly three quarters of the uninsured (74 percent) had at least one full-time worker in their family, and an additional 11 percent had a part-time worker in their family

• Individuals below poverty are at the highest risk of being uninsured (the poverty level for a family of three was $19,078 in 2015). In total, more than eight in ten of the uninsured are in low- or moderate-income families, meaning they have incomes below 400 percent of poverty

• A plurality (45 percent) of the uninsured are non-Hispanic whites, however, people of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than whites. People of color make up 41 percent of the nonelderly U.S. population but account for over half of the total nonelderly uninsured population (Figure 4). The disparity in insurance coverage is especially high for Hispanics, who account for 20 percent of the nonelderly population but nearly a third (32 percent) of the nonelderly uninsured population

• Hispanics and blacks have significantly higher uninsured rates (17.2 percent and 12.2 percent, respectively) than whites (8.1 percent)

Kaiser Family Foundation. (2016). Key facts about the uninsured population. Retrieved August 8, 2017 from:

So how does the United States compare to other industrialized nations?Let’s start by comparing costs.

Source: Peter G. Peterson Foundation. (2016). International comparison. [Graph comparing U.S. healthcare spending with other developed countries]. Retrieved on July 27, 2017, from

The United States spends twice the average other developed countries on healthcare. Does increased spending lead to better healthcare outcomes?

Please click on the following document for further information: Why is Health Spending in the United States so High?

So, your tasks is to dig deeper into these statistics and gain a better understanding as to how other countries deliver healthcare to their citizens. Use the data you were provided here as a starting point for your research.

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