The American healthcare system is famously exclusionary. Currently, more than 18 million Americans are without health insurance. Of those that do have insurance, 29% are categorised as 'underinsured'. It is therefore woefully underprepared for the arrival of a global health pandemic.
The barriers posed by the healthcare system are manifold. And raise questions - should those that are unable to afford basic healthcare be treated? Should only the wealthy have access to a vaccine or coronavirus treatment? Since the virus arrived in the US, over 800 experts have written to US policymakers demanding action for the uninsured. Yet, these please have fallen on deaf ears. Federal governments have refused to commit to any agreement that would give these people treatment or access to healthcare, if they were struck by Covid-19. Unsurprisingly, without these measures passed, hospitals are now openly stating they will have to give priority to the insured. Soumi Saha, a Senior Director overseeing 4,000 hospitals explained this when she said "The truth is no one truly knows how much this will cost," and went on to explain their budgets were already overstretched. In this case, is it any wonder the virus is spreading as it is?