Breast Cancer Bills: A Deadly Disease

Breast cancer bills’ deadly affect on women affected

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When asking around, stories of people who know someone with breast cancer, have been directly affected by the cancer, or have had a parent or sibling impacted by the disease are in no shortage. When pondering breast cancer, details of the disease are not often considered when thinking about the overarching circumstances- doctor’s visits are a popular thought and chemotherapy and radiation fill the air like smog coming off wreckage. While these details are evident, a closer look reveals the harsh reality for many women that is insurmountable doctor’s bills that cannot be paid. This is the other disease that impacts women- the vicious sickness of a money deficit. We believe that the healthcare system in place regarding female health is unjust and needs to be rectified in order to aid women with a low socioeconomic status. The mountainous hill of dollar bills is the second detrimental disease that plagues women diagnosed with breast cancer and it is imperative that the system be changed to promote health, not money. 

 

Being the most common cancer worldwide, breast cancer has no boundaries when it comes to diagnosing, especially when it comes to income. In 2017, the average cost of “curing” breast cancer was estimated to be between $20,000 and $100,000, including doctor’s visits, lab work, medication, chemotherapy, etc.- curing being a somewhat empty term since the disease can come back. It goes without saying that this high range of costs can prove to be burdensome, especially to the 50 million people who live in the United States without medical insurance. Receiving medical care without health insurance is an issue in itself and looking at a disease that proves to be so costly forces many women to opt-out of receiving care. In the state of California in 2017, 13% of uninsured women living in poverty with metastasized cancer survived three years or more, leaving 87% to pass away within that three-year boundary. The sheer fact alone that 87% of women living uninsured had their life ripped away from them within 3 years, all due to the fact that they could not afford the top-of-line medical care, clearly shines a spotlight on the fact that the system is severely damaged. The healthcare system needs to be altered in order to universalize insurance and facilitate getting proper care. While it can be argued that Medicaid is sufficient, the logistics of the insurance are not feasible in cases such as this and it is the job of the government to fix it. Medicaid is health insurance that provides those living below the federal poverty level and entailing a compelling need, care. At face-value, this insurance seems adequate, however, the cons list goes for miles proving this to be a weightless argument and still leaving the need for an improved system. Those with Medicaid are not able to afford top-tier medicine since suppliers are less likely to provide it since their profit is low and, while the requirements are low, they are not low enough, still leaving 50 million Americans uninsured. The number of women who pass away from breast cancer who are uninsured and in poverty is a demanding issue that cannot be fixed by Medicaid, needing a change to the system itself. 

 

While Planned Parenthood clinics are seen to be controversial in today’s political climate due to conflicting interests regarding abortion, the clinics expand beyond that regard and impact breast cancer patients. Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care globally. Although being known for abortion, Planned Parenthood focuses on women’s health and provides services such as supplying contraceptives, hormone therapy, infertility services, and cancer screenings, all for little to no cost. In recent years, protesting outside of these clinics has arisen in many states in which people shout rhymes, songs, and horrendous sayings at the women driving into the clinic, all in opposition to abortion, however, disregarding the fact that not all clients are there for that service. On top of that, with the election on the rise, electing a politician who will defund this clinic, seeing that it performs abortions, is an influential point. The potential defunding or banishment of these clinics rips the reduced-cost female care services out of the hands of many who rely on it, adding to the heckling and detriment to women. Driving to the clinic and being berated, threatened, and fearful is what many Planned Parenthood customers endure just to receive healthcare that they can afford and defunding the clinics would leave more women with no care, putting them at increased risk seeing that many women rely on the clinic to get breast cancer screened. Planned Parenthood clinics should be more popularized and accepted seeing that they provide essential services for women, especially those in lower-income situations, leaving a need for an increased number of locations and respect. As touched on earlier, to say Planned Parenthood is controversial would be an understatement as described by the description of protests. While defunding the clinics since they perform abortions is the basis of many arguments, this can be opposed when looking at how many women benefit from the service in other aspects, such as cancer screenings, and the fact that diseases of the sort could go undetected if the clinics are banned simply because customers cannot afford regular care.

 

Comparing the female healthcare system of Canada to that of the United States, Canada rises to the top when stacked against each other due to their care structure. Canada has a decentralized, universal, publicly funded health system called Canadian Medicare that is funded and administered primarily by the country’s 13 provinces and territories, each on its own insurance plan receiving cash assistance from the federal government on a per-capita basis. From this brief description, the contrast between the United States and Canada is immediately highlighted. Looking into breast cancer care, in Ontario, Canada between 1966 and 2011, all women diagnosed with breast cancer lived five years or more passed the diagnosis and 31% of Canadian women were three times as likely as women in the United States to be treated very thoroughly with medicine, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone supplements, etc. Taking this into consideration, the Canadian healthcare system reflects a model system that shows a structure being inexpensive and effective for all women in need, regardless of income. While it can be argued that a system such as Canada’s could damage the national economy, Canada proves this to be false by having a GDP of 1.713 trillion, being expected to rise 6% in the next year, and ranking 10th out of the whole world in regards to GDP. The substantial example of the Canadian healthcare system shows the need for something similar in the United States when looking at breast cancer, as seen through the survival and treatment rates, and the counter-argument is disproved when evaluating Canada as a whole.   

In order to reduce the high costs of breast cancer treatment for women of low socioeconomic status, the United States must change the healthcare system by adopting a system similar to that of Canada and create a social insurance system, replacing the Medicaid and Obamacare reforms. In order to accomplish this, a system of incentives must be implemented that will prove to be a good investment and give money back to the taxpayers. By giving objective ratings showing which provider groups are better for less and rewarding consumers to choose those groups over costly providers, consumers will go to the lower-rated groups to gain money which counters their tax money spent and creates a system of high-quality care. Simply put, Americans want money and healthcare and do not want to give up either. Providing universalized healthcare while rewarding those who go to the inexpensive options will result in a “best of both worlds” scenario. This being said, the United States needs to fix the healthcare system, one way or another, to diminish the disease of debt and promote the general welfare the Founding Fathers spoke about, promoting women’s health to support those affected by breast cancer.