Health Care: A Human Right

American Physicians

If you could make a statement to the public and policy makers about the state of the medical profession today and how health care delivery can be improved, what would you say?

In Part Three of the Physicians Foundation’s 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians: COVID-19 and the Future of the Health Care System, many physicians reported feeling that changes need to be made to address social determinants of health and ensure quality health care is accessible to and affordable for all Americans.

Why? Many physicians discussed barriers that many individuals and families face when trying to access quality health care, due to factors like where they live and their income. Physicians want to put their patients at the center of care, regardless of socio-economic status, environment, education and/or identity. In short, they advocate that health care is a human right.

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges to addressing social determinants of health and has presented the health care system with new barriers to care. Now more than ever, physicians are dedicated to addressing the needs of all their patients, but change is also needed within the system as a whole to make this possible on a broad scale.

Read the direct quotes from physicians about addressing social determinants of health:

“Social determinants of health (race, income, housing inequality) must be addressed in healthcare.”

“Health care for all should not have any hurdles at all.”

“Prevention is cheaper than cure and the basics such as adequate food, vaccinations, access to care and insurance/cost support are fundamental.”

“We need 1) to close the health access gap between socioeconomic classes, 2) improve medical reimbursement for physicians and hospitals, 3) provide better preventative medicine.”

“Everyone needs affordable health care access options for quality health care. People can’t retire early to make way for younger people entering the workforce, as they can’t afford to purchase health insurance before they are eligible for Medicare. Low-income earners can’t afford health care, etc. It’s a total disgrace.”

“Access to high-quality health care is a human right. We need to make this affordable and available for every single person living in our country.”

“Quality health care is expensive. Low-income and no-income families need financial support to obtain good insurance with low deductibles.”

“There needs to be better parity in who receives adequate medical care, and if there is no parity then identifying the issues that affect it are most important (racism, poverty, etc.).”

“To create an equitable and efficient health care system, we must ensure that everyone can access essential health care services without cost or other barriers to getting those services.”

“Can you even imagine what it is like for people with few resources to juggle housing, medical care, proper food, childcare and transportation? Can you imagine how impossible that can be for those with few resources?…and for those who don’t have jobs that actually work with patients, can you imagine how hard it is to know what is right and not be able to do that and not be able to help people because of the insane roadblocks in our current system?”

“There is a large divide between people who can afford health care. The pandemic has made this difference even larger. People need to be able to have access to quality health care that is affordable.”

“If we focus on addressing the needs of those impacted by health disparities, it will result in better health care for all = Healthy Nation!”

“Do what’s needed to reduce access inequities, especially overly expensive insurance policies that provide disincentives to receive routine care, but also recognize that no system can work without coordination and cooperation with physicians, who drive the delivery of medical services.”

“Put patients and core health care quality outcomes first, with integration and attention to the social determinants of health funded and rewarded. Also, reward/incentivize a reduction in health disparities and create equitable access to care for all.”

“Too many people lack adequate coverage, leading to poor access, poor care, and, ultimately increased costs for everyone. A market driven approach has failed Americans.”

“COVID is accelerating the pre-existing death of primary care. Without a change in how we pay for primary care, we are continuing to move to a system where the rich and poor have access to primary care (the rich will pay directly, the poor through community health centers) and the middle class will be left to fend for themselves, driving up costs and resulting in avoidable mortality and morbidity.”

“Investing in social determinants of health is of utmost importance and has an effect which causes or complicates every chronic condition.”

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