Sickness Care or Healthcare: A Unique Perspective on US Healthcare

“Is the US healthcare system expensive, complicated, dysfunctional, or broken? The simple answer is yes,” says Robert H. Shmerling, an Editorial Advisory Board Member within Harvard Health Publishing, and many go to agree. Healthcare costs in the US have skyrocketed, causing financial stress for those with lessened access. With an increase in alarm for the unsustainable healthcare system within the US, more questions have begun to arise. This article explores US healthcare compared to other nations and a unique take on healthcare by Marianne Williamson, an author campaigning for the 2024 United States presidential election.

The US Healthcare System

We can categorize healthcare in the United States into four sections based on patient population: veterans, uninsured citizens, senior citizens, and citizens covered by employers. The government provides healthcare for veterans within government-owned facilities employing government doctors, while senior citizens receive government-funded private sector-delivered healthcare under Medicare. As for citizens insured by their employers, they pay for private healthcare through payroll deductions. However, apart from these three categories, 30 million uninsured citizens reside in the United States, remaining one of the most vital national issues. Regarding this issue, some states have initiated Medicaid expansion programs to provide healthcare access to those in need. Furthermore, the federal government has proposed reforms to increase low-income individuals’ access to healthcare. It is, however, necessary to take further steps to ensure that all citizens have access to health care.

Healthcare Around the World

Healthcare in the United States poses significant differences from other countries. Despite its development, the United States ranks around 30th for healthcare. On the other hand, Japan ranked #2 and has some of the highest life expectancies and lowest infant mortality rates despite its similar development levels. In Japan, there is a set cost for all procedures, from open heart surgery to a simple checkup. Due to the tightly controlled prices, there are tightly controlled expenses. Additionally, all citizens have insurance within Japan, Japanese citizens pay into a social insurance fund, so if one loses their job, healthcare is not lost. However, a downside to this system is that 50% of hospitals are in financial deficit.

Moreover, Switzerland, a country with a similar healthcare system to America, completely redid its healthcare system with a series of reforms. The Yale Global Health Review stated, “Switzerland’s health reforms over the past two decades have balanced the demands of solidarity and capitalism.” These reforms raise the question: is it time for change within the U.S. healthcare system?

“Sickness Care System”

“We have a sickness care system rather than a healthcare system,” says Marianne Williamson, who recently announced her candidacy for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination. Throughout her campaign, Williamson has shared her thoughts on the problem with the current economic system: it is “based as it is on an inordinate focus on short-term profit” (Health Care Policy Statement, 3). She has proposed the Whole Health Plan, which details healthcare costs and coverage while striving to fix the problem by promoting healthy lifestyle changes, removing toxins from our agriculture, and reducing more risks. By changing these small things, William believes we can rebuild a healthcare system that helps our nation for the better, reducing economic costs and implementing them towards preventing sickness in the first place. After all, it’s “healthcare,” not “sickness care.”

What do you think: is it time for change?

Works Cited

Robert H. Shmerling, MD. “Is Our Healthcare System Broken?” Harvard Health, 13 July 2021, 

“Health Care Policy Statement.” Marianne 2024, Accessed 4 July 2023. 

“Best Healthcare in the World 2023.” Wisevoter, 30 May 2023, 

Cbecnel. “Sick Around the World.” New Orleans Healthcare Improvement Group, 20 May 2017, 

Yaleglobalhealthreview. “Switzerland: Regarding Health System Reform.” Yale Global Health Review, 14 Nov. 2020,