Health care is becoming an expensive commodity in America every single day. Countless Americans are dealing with the burden of increasing health care cost, which is making access to essential health care a dream. This paper seeks to discuss the factors responsible for inflation in health care cost, in America.
Estimates show that the cost of health care in the US will be approximately $4.8 trillion by 2021. The cost of health care was $2.6 trillion in the year 2010 and $75 billion dollars in the year 1970. It is surprising that the cost of healthcare will be equivalent to 20% of the US Gross Domestic Product. In fact, many employers and employees are struggling to pay health insurance premiums. Most companies are not able to provide health care coverage for all their employees. Research has shown that 49 million Americans did not have health insurance in the year 2011. Furthermore, the people who have health insurance were forced to dig deeper in their pockets to pay premiums. This is because the cost of health care rose by 7% in 2012. In 2012, the total health care cost for American families passed the $20,000 dollar mark. This was the first time in America that a family had to pay $20,000 dollars to meet the costs. The government is using a lot money to meet the health care costs. This has hindered the ability of the government to address other issues that are crucial for economic growth.
The growth in insurance premiums is directly related to the cost of medical care between 2000 and 2010. In order to discuss the reasons behind the increase in health care, it is necessary to compare US to other nations that fall under Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The amount of money spent in hospitals is 60% more than hospital spending in these nations. Furthermore, the United States spends additional money on dentists, physicians and specialists that these other nations. These two reasons explain the rising cost in health care that is getting worse in United States.
Increase in hospital costs is the reason that can be used to explain the high inflation in health care cost. According to research, increase in hospital cost was the main cost driver for privately insured Americans. The prices of all medical services increased in 2011. Spending on these services increased by 4.5% in 2011. The main factor that has led to increase in hospital cost is the move to consolidate the hospital industry. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of mergers between hospitals rose by 33% (Howell, 2012).
Secondly, health care providers are charging high prices to offer health care services. Their prices are higher than the prices charged by their European counterparts. The prices of health care providers coupled with increased access to developed medical technology are the key factors driving the cost of healthcare. Provider prices rates second after hospital prices in factors that are driving the cost of healthcare in United States.
Medical technology is getting expensive every single year. It has contributed to the increasing cost of health care. Research has shown that medical technology is responsible for up to 65 percent increase in health care cost. Introduction of new technology comes with additional options for patients. It does the work of replacing less expensive technology with expensive technology.
Many Americans are leading very unhealthy lifestyles. Unhealthy lifestyles lead to the development of lifestyle diseases like obesity and heart problems. It is extremely expensive to manage these chronic infections. This has led to increase for money that is used to buy medical care. The other factor driving health care cost is unnecessary spending, which is a waste. These costs are then transferred back to the consumers (Sultz, Young, & ebrary, 2011).
Many strategies have been used to help in reducing the effect of the rising health care cost in the United States. Nurses have not been left behind in this endeavor that seeks to reduce the cost of healthcare. Nurses have implemented the accountable care model to help in managing patients at minimized costs. Accountable care advocates for nurses to be more involved in health care management. This can help reduce errors in medication and improve the quality of healthcare at a minimized cost. In addition, the nurses can be proactive and advise patients on how to avoid getting sick again. If nurses are involved are in management care, they can make it easy to transition patients from hospitals to homes (Howell, 2012).
Accountable care maintains that the services of professional nurses should be maximized. Nurse are always in contact in with patients and can understand many factors affect their conditions. Furthermore, nurses can visit patients under home care often to check on their status. These actions would help reduce the cost of health care. This is because home based care is cheaper than health care. Furthermore, involvement of nurses would reduce wasteful spending and medical errors, which drive health care cost to the roof. Accountable care might not be able to solve all problems but is the first step as nurses push for other strategies to help reduce the cost of healthcare.
Howell, W.L.J. (2012, March) The Changing Role of Nurses. H&HN Magazine, March 2012 Issue, 20
Sultz, H. A., Young, K. M., & ebrary, Inc. (2011). Health care USA: Understanding its organization and delivery. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.