Healthcare inequality is a term for the chasm that divides the quality of care that some patients receive from the care that other patients receive. In America, this gap is extremely large. However, the inequal healthcare doesn’t just effect those who got the short end of the stick.

What causes healthcare inequality?

One reason for healthcare inequality is a difference in income, but there are other factors that have an impact. Both insured and uninsured Americans face a level of healthcare inequality. Regardless of how much money they have, people in some regions historically receive poorer care than in other regions.

To put it simply, a person either has enough to fund their own healthcare or they are subject to the red tape of an insurance company. Millions of insured, working Americans go bankrupt each year because they can’t afford

Impact on your care

Emergency rooms across the country are facing the brunt of healthcare inequality. A doctor’s office can legally turn away a person who does not have insurance and does not have enough money to pay up front. Some doctor’s offices will not accept an uninsured patient even if they have cash in hand.

Legally, an emergency department must either treat or transfer anyone who walks in the door regardless of their ability to pay. As more Americans become uninsured or unable to afford high copays, the American emergency room has been relegated to a communal primary care practice. Wait times in emergency rooms are longer than ever, and there is a risk for people with true emergencies to fall through the cracks.

Impact on your wallet

Deductions for Medicare and Medicaid come out of everyone’s paycheck. Medicaid is government-funded insurance for the poorest and sickest Americans, those most affected by healthcare inequality.

As these federal agencies become more burdened by more and more charges, these deductions will increase.