Everyone Deserves Access to High-Quality, Affordable Healthcare

When I was in my early 20s, I dedicated myself to gaining knowledge from the best minds in science and applying it. I vigorously studied molecular biology and virology to understand major plights like cancer and HIV/AIDS. I worked to understand the human genome to enable the discovery of new drugs and treatments. I was determined at each step to get the knowledge from the best minds of my time and then apply it. 

Only after my studies were near complete did I come to understand that unless our healthcare system became more efficient, we would continue to have two significant problems: a vast inequity in who could receive quality healthcare and a lack of financial resources to continue developing new tools that could save millions of lives.

Even here, in the United States, there is vast inequality in who can access and afford quality care. Everyone who needs care should receive care, but many are left out of the picture. Millions are uninsured because most receive insurance through their employer. Medical bills are a leading cause of bankruptcy in this country. Lower-income families simply cannot receive the care they may need because it is too expensive.

As a result, many go to the doctor less frequently than they should. The US spends the most per capita on healthcare, but this money rarely prevents disease—only treating it. Disease is more prevalent in a society that goes to the doctor less. Spending should focus on medical research and preventative medicine so that disease is less severe, prevalent, and costly in the future.

In inefficient health care systems, ultimately, it does not matter what treatments you have. Most people do not have access to them. What good is biotechnological advancement if the breakthrough is unable to help those that need it? We spend way too much money at the end of the process – health care services – and starve the beginning of the process – basic research and disease prevention.

I was finally able to act on this insight when I created ACCESS Health International, a not-for-profit operating foundation designed to speed the day when everyone, no matter where they live, no matter their age, has access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.

This blog is one in a series showcasing writing samples from my autobiography: My Lifelong Fight Against Disease. Available for purchase here.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.