The U.S has the most expensive healthcare system in the world. However, it is puzzled with issues ranging from inefficiencies, inflated prices, excessive administrative expenses, inappropriate care, fraud, and waste. These issues are caused by a considerable lack of quality. However, of these issues I presume that major ones require immediate attention, while the minor ones require long-term solutions. Arguably, the country’s largest economic sector is healthcare which accounts for approximately $2.1 trillion in annual expenses. Yet, thousands of Americans cannot afford good healthcare services, and needs. Despite spending that entire amount in healthcare, serious issues regarding quality of healthcare emerge every day. Studies show that between 43,000 and 97,000 Americans die because of medical errors every day (Fradin, 2008, p. 117). Although there are numerous health insurances including Medicare, the majority of Americans do not fully benefit from these services. There are many instances where providers do not have enough information, wrong medication is given, or prescriptions are unreadable due to factors such as doctors’ handwriting.
Healthcare issues in America range from health insurance, negligence of doctors, unreliable information, and financial issues. Notably, the problems in American health care have entirely been caused by distortions that are imposed on the market from various directions. Programs that have created a third party payment system and federal tax subsidies are the most significant issues that insulate consumers from market and prices forces. Healthcare is indeed a spending program. However, this spending is inappropriate because more than 47 million people in America lack health insurance and around 8 million of them are children. Additionally, over 41 million Americans do not get medical care when they dearly need it, whether insured or not, because they simply cannot afford it.
Health Care Issues At Hand
Despite being high on the nation’s agenda, fundamental quality, cost, and access problems need to be addressed. The U.S is the only developed country with a huge growing gap between private and public health coverage. To add on to that, health care cost are extremely high and they consume an escalating proportion of the GDP. America’s cost and access issues are simply intertwined with inconvenient quality issues. The issue of squeezing out inefficiencies and unnecessary care are most visible making headlines in the health care debate (Hardoy, 2013, p. 33).
Notably, the cost of health care and health care insurance in America is rising faster than inflation and wages. A recent study that was done by an NGO shows that from the year 2001 to 2007, wages increased 3.8%, the rate of inflation increased between 3.4%, and health care premiums increased 87%. The issue with this statistics is that the majority of the uninsured are working Americans do not afford health care costs. Seemly most Americans are capable of affording insurance simply because it is subsidized by their employer. For instance in 2007, the average health insurance premium for a single family that is provided with the health benefit of an employer was $11,500. From this amount, an average of $2,700 was paid by the employee towards the premiums. This shows that, out of the 83% insured Americans, about 58% get health insurance through their employer, only 8% of the insured purchase their own policies. The rest insured employees get health coverage from the government through; Medicare, Medicaid, and Military (Stange, 2009, p. 56).
Malpractice Suits with Large Compensatory Awards
There are numerous malpractice suits with large compensatory awards in America. This is because there are very many doctors who practice incompletely and carelessly. Recent reports reveal that more than 89,000 Americans die every year needlessly from medical mistakes. Health professionals and doctors, who do not disinfect or wash their hands after visiting patients particularly in hospitals, transmit infections agents that are drug-resistant. In addition, some doctors operate on wrong limbs and organs after reading X-rays incorrectly. Basically, these are incompetent or careless doctors who are either untrained, or unskilled (Jameson, 2007, p. 12).
The current health care system in America is seemingly complex; most of the health insurance coverage is tied to employment. Thus condition is risky because once health insurance is tied to employment status; it can be inefficient and disruptive. Notably, it is projected that close to 22% of uninsured persons lack insurance because they either had a change in employment, or they lost their job. People worry too much about their health needs and health insurance if they change employers, take time off to raise a family, become injured, lose their job, or retire.
Cost is the major reason people lack health insurance. However, there are so many people who cannot access good insurance because of issues pre-existing medical conditions. A great deal of people has had their bills left unpaid, and health insurance cancelled. Consequently, lack of health insurance is a major drawback that limits access to medical care such as check-ups, immunization, preventative health care, dental care, mental health care and prescriptions. The majority of uninsured individuals have no choice but to live without good medical care, even when they need it in extreme conditions. Subsequently, such drawbacks often escalate minute health problems to become very serious leaving many untreated, and many are left to die from conditions that are preventable.
Distortions Imposed on the Market from Several Directions
Notably, issues in American health care are caused by distortions imposed on the market from diverse directions. Federal tax subsidies are one of these issues where a third party system is involved. This system insulates consumers from market and price forces. Doctors and other health specialists want to serve patients well but the industry is massively subsidized. Exclusion is open-ended. People are paying more for inappropriate services. For instance, this trend in the market has encouraged medical suppliers to increase the quantity of what Americans literally get. This issues result to dramatic decline in personal and private out-of-pocket spending. Presumably, issues with insurance, health care services and lack of a stable market have created serious problems.
The good news is that today, Americans know more about the economics of health care. Fragmentation is the key problem with the U.S health care system. Certainly, current issues with health care in America show that indeed health care is a spending program, not a service program as it should be. Studies show that America is spending more on medicine, and neglected important programs that give citizens good services. The Worlds Health Organization indicates that approximately 32% of all health care dollars are spent on administrative costs. The irony with this finding is that, the majority of Americans do not benefit from it. For instance, there are political pundits who focus on high cost of prescription. This affects the cost medicines and services causing instability in the market. Today, the current health care system in America is restricted. The insurance industry is a profit firm and the sad news thing is that Americans do not have a choice to switch between the market alternatives.
Solutions to Health Care Problems
America has an unfruitful and long history of attempts to reform health care. Looking at health care in the U.S, the issues and their underlying causes are a matter if concern. In fact, it could be an uphill task to attain universal access to good quality and cost effective health care. Americans have been raised to believe that medical care and science will meet all their needs. This implies beliefs relate to the inappropriate health insurance firms in America that only focus on profit, and forego the critical aspect of considering their health. Notably, it would be very inappropriate to introduce a new system of thing because change is not easily accepted. Instead, it would be better if ways to curb the current situation. The following are coherent ways to solve these problems.
Having access to a doctor anytime you need is a benefit shared by a few. The current escalated cost of insurance shows that record numbers of families are underinsured or uninsured. The solution to the skyrocketing premiums faced by Americans is simply finding the right medical coverage. People with coverage through their employer should check to see if they can lower or raise their deductable as expected to accommodate the needs of their families. In addition, there could be need to consider an insurance plan with co-pay that will allow them to pay set fees for every time they visit the doctor, as an alternative of allowing it to apply to their deductable.
- Free Market
Arguably, insurance is the dominant issue that confining health care in the U.S. Therefore, having a free market for health insurance could be the simplest solution to this problem. A free market will give people a chance to vote with their feet, meaning that the free market will coordinate with insurance companies to give discounts to employers. This will make it very easy for any employer to buy insurance instead of employees doing so. For this reason, health insurance should count as a tax deductable expenditure. Employers ought to be restricted from forcing their employees to accept any plans they make. A price based on sex, weight, and age should be set. It would also be reasonable to allow plans not to cover conditions that have existed for long. In addition, the government should introduce a new system where everyone must have insurance; to complement that, it should give vouchers for the purchase of health insurance. Such considerations would make health insurance convenient and less expensive.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and WHO reveal that, close to half of all chronic diseases; asthma, and diabetes are preventable. Uninsured and underinsured persons have a tendency of cutting corners by skimping on preventative care. Studies show that the majority of adult consumers on limited incomes do not utilize and take advantage of opportunities with preventative-care options. In order to cut cost on preventative care, individuals should find insurance plans that offer free or discounted visits for preventative visits. Additionally, one should consider taking advantage of free/discounted screenings and preventative-care options that are offered by local health departments (Rooney, 2008, p. 11).
Eliminating All Incompetent, Untrained, and Careless Doctors
Malpractices are a very sad phenomenon. In order to shun these inhumane acts, all untrained, careless and incompetent doctors and other health professionals should be eliminated from the profession quickly. These individuals are connected to crude drug companies that operate illegally. It would be effective to prohibit crude companies and doctors from operating and advertising to the general public. To effectively curb this menace, an online library of reports on drug companies, and government labs should be created with supplementary support of data files to register legal companies, and perpetrate illegal ones.
Rights, Responsibilities, & Restrictions
The cost of health care should be reduced by implementing the preceding recommendations. State and federal governments would be required in subsidizing groups that cannot afford to pay for health insurance. Health insurance should be provided by the federal government at affordable premiums. This intervention will resolve more than 60% of health care issues in the U.S (Stamm, 2007, p. 181).
The current health care system in America is restricted, and complex. Most of the health insurance coverage is tied to employment. In addition, the insurance industry is a profit firm and the sad news thing is that Americans do not have a choice to switch between the market alternatives. However, the complexity of the health care system is an issue that could be resolved using stern and coherent measures. Reforms would play part in resolving health issues in America; studies reveal that inappropriate underpinnings are a major drawback to good health. The federal and state governments should intervene in finding coherent ways of curbing health care menace to find profound solutions.
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