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Culture

The Primary Health Care Crisis

If you walked into the Robert’s Lobby or Hunt Formal a few weeks ago, you would have seen Bucknell Student Health staff administering flu shots to students. I recently just walked into my doctor’s office and got a flu shot, free of cost, in a matter of minutes. I am also fortunate to regularly see primary-care doctors, eye doctors, dentists, and any other health care professional I need without worrying or thinking much about it. Because I’m this fortunate, I have a clean bill of health and receive any treatments I need when I need them. I also have never been to the emergency room for something a primary care doctor could treat, but other Americans do not have this blessing.

Many young people believe their bodies are resilient, and then they go without insurance because they don’t expect to run into any problems, but this leads to disastrous consequences later in life. I never realized the exorbitant cost of health care until I got my wisdom teeth taken out. I was lucky to have the procedure covered by insurance, but I saw what the insurance company paid for me. There is no way any normal middle-class American could afford to pay a bill like that without insurance. 

 

In an emergency room today, you will find people who are blind from cataracts, people getting limbs amputated due to their unmanaged diabetes, people dying from the flu, and children getting sick because they missed vaccines for preventable diseases. The common thread among these emergency room visits is that the patients most likely would not have gotten sick if they regularly visited their primary care doctor. A primary care doctor could easily catch these things. Even if they still got sick, their primary care doctor would have noticed the problem and treated it early on to prevent it from getting as bad as it did. 

The United States could save millions of dollars (and millions of lives, which should be all the incentive we need) by preventing unnecessary emergency room visits if the government made it more affordable to visit a primary care doctor. No one deserves to die just because they cannot afford to live. 

 

Hi, I'm Kendall Garnett and I am a senior Biology major/Spanish minor at Bucknell University. I am a Co-Campus Correspondent for HerCampus Bucknell. When I am not busy researching the next big pandemic I like to write and wait in the Dunkin drive-through for hours.
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