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Does more money really mean better health care?

You knew that you needed medical care right away when you felt pain in your chest. When you went to the hospital, you told them you had insurance, and the insurance card you presented signified that you were on an adjusted-rate plan. In other words, you're a low-income patient.

To most people who want to see you well, that would not matter, but to an organization that makes money off sick patients, it can mean cutting corners or skipping tests that you would have to pay for out of pocket. The hospital may deem them unnecessary as a way to avoid losing out on the cost of those services, even though you need those tests to get the correct diagnosis.

Health inequality is a problem in the United States. Even though everyone is entitled to health care regardless of their ability to pay, that doesn't mean everyone gets the same care. Here are a few reasons middle-class and lower-class Americans may struggle with their health.

1. Health variances play a role

One thing to first consider is that the wealthy tend to have better health than the poor. Why? The poor live in worse conditions, are exposed to more violence and accidents, get substandard care and are more likely to smoke. Comparatively, the wealthy live in well-to-do neighborhoods, are exposed to less violence, eat well and have access to the best and brightest medical professionals.

2. Race may be an issue in the health care system

Although America has come a long way, race still does play a role in some of the problems faced by patients in the health care world. Data has shown that African-Americans are less likely to receive the same treatments and care as white people on the same insurance plans with the same presentation of symptoms. While the majority of health care professionals do care for their patients, the implicit bias minorities receive can impact their care.

3. The wealthy have more access to preventative care

Since the wealthy have more money and better access to care, they can treat medical conditions before they become emergencies. This, in itself, leads to a longer life expectancy and better outcomes when they fall ill. For those with little spending money, heading to the hospital may be something only done in life-threatening emergencies. By then, the patient has a higher risk of death and a lower chance of successful treatment.

As a low-income patient, you deserve the best care possible. If you are dismissed from a hospital prematurely or not treated like you should be, your attorney can help. You should not receive poor care just because you earn less money than someone else.

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