American health care is one of the largest industries in the country. Expenditures on health care are growing most rapidly; more Americans spend only for food and housing. Many economists and other experts have expressed concern that such a significant part of GDP is spent on health care. In fact, if so much money is spent on health care, the less remains for housing, food, clothing and other essential goods and services. In addition, the increase in health care costs was mainly due to government programs, rather than in the private sector. Therefore, proportionally smaller share of funds is intended for education, construction and maintenance of roads, etc. It cannot create great difficulties, if the economy is in recovery, but it becomes a serious problem during the recession. The United States has the most stable medical system, which is able to respond quickly to altering conditions. The United States is also a leader in confidentiality and respect for the patient, meeting the patients’ needs and timeliness of providing health care. Although, at the same time this country takes only 37th place by providing the medical care and 72th in the general level of health. America is considered the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee its citizens universal and comprehensive system of health insurance. Despite the remarkable success of the United States health care and the system of medical services, they are not available to millions of Americans due to the extreme increase in the cost. Most of the population has health insurance, but for 30% of them health care is not fully provided, lack of health insurance is the cause for approximately 18,000 deaths annually. (Ida Hellander et al, 1-7)
The main organization, which is responsible for the health of the whole nation, is the Department of Health and Human Services. The Secretary (Minister) is the head of this organization and he directly reports to the President of the country. In the composition of the Department are included ten official representatives (directors) in the regions. There should also be taken into consideration that in the United States the Ministry of Health plays a very modest role in connection with a small proportion of government participation in the health care system. Among the main objectives - control over the medical system and implementation of social programs, monitoring of medical science, monitoring and report to the authorities the situation in the industry of welfare, health and social welfare. The following units within the Ministry are directly involved in the decision of problems of medicine - the Office of health care financing and the Public Health Service. Medicine in the USA operates at the following levels: family medicine - physicians make a common observance of the patients, if it is necessary, they direct them to a medical specialist; hospital care – takes central place in the health system, although in recent years its value is decreased and displaced by activities clinics, ambulance and nursing homes; and public health. The US health care system is pluralistic, there are a lot of types of health care facilities and no single, centralized management, but almost all these facilities provide health care services exclusively for money. There are also a number of people, who get the health care services free of charge and their expenditures are compensated by the State or special funds. For the needy citizens, the US government provides two special programs - Medicaid and Medicare, but they are not always ideal. Medicaid, designed to help people with low incomes, is funded by both by the federal government and at the state level. Since each state has its own program of Medicaid, it creates significant problems in public administration. Under this program are provided only 5 services: consultation of various experts, inpatient and outpatient treatment, laboratory diagnosis and radiographic methods, stay in the nursing home. Medicare program’s purpose is to help people over 65, as well as citizens close to retirement age, who have health problems. However, according to this program the long-term hospitalization, free receipt of hearing aids and prescription drugs are not available that is so necessary for old sick people. (Barbara L. Wolfe, 1-5)
The medical profession in the United States is prestigious and highly paid. Doctors consistently occupy the top ten in the list of highest paid professions in the country. It should also be noted the high cost of education. As a result, educated specialist has huge debt. The high prices on medical education forces the young American students to go to study in the Caribbean medical schools, which allow saving money on medical education. In the American medical tradition, there is a practice when a doctor treats not the whole person, but his separate organs. Treatment is given at the mercy of narrowly focused specialists, who pay attention only to what is the subject of their professional qualification, ignoring the rest of the body. A distinctive feature of American medicine is the special and personal relationship between doctor and patient. The patient is considered as a partner of the physician, the patient is explained in detail his condition and he listens to physician’s opinion in the choice of treatment. The opinion of the patient in assessing the quality of health care has a great, sometimes excessive importance. This situation, according to some experts, leads to a distortion of evaluation because the patient is always subjective and not always able to objectively evaluate the quality of service. This situation is most likely associated with fear of lawsuits. There are huge risks associated with lawsuits by the patient. Although 91% of all claims for inadequate medical practitioners are successfully challenged, huge inconvenience represents the long duration of cases (average 4.5 years) and high spending on lawyers. As a result, American doctors, unlike their European counterparts, have to buy extremely expensive insurance that protects them from lawsuits.
The United States spends on health care, more than any other country in the world, the consumption of medical services is below average for most indicators. In the US, there is no compulsory health insurance; medical expenses are the deal of each individual. It should be noted that the insurance covers not all, but only clearly a limited list of medical services. There are not included, for example, a dentist, an ophthalmologist, a pediatrician and a psychiatrist, and others. Insurance on the principle of "all inclusive" can afford only very rich people. As a result, serious injury or illness can severely undermine the family budget - medical bills are the cause of half of the bankruptcies of private persons in the United States. The insurance market is highly monopolized that can create conditions for discrimination of the population, especially regarding payment refusals. Most health insurance companies refuse to insure seriously ill people. Formally, all Americans have equal access to emergency medical care, and doctors do not have to ask the availability of insurance from arriving patients. However, uninsured patients are served by the doctor much later; the necessary assistance they have to wait long in the corridors of the hospital. High medical costs force many Americans to be treated abroad in cheaper countries - mostly in Italy, Canada, the Caribbean, England and Cuba. (National Coalition on Health Care specialists, 4-7)
Ida Hellander& JoAnne Bailey. "The U.S. Health Care System: Best in the World, or Just the Most Expensive?" 2001, University of Maine Press. Print
Barbara L. Wolfe. "Changing the U.S. health care system: How difficult will it be?" 2013, University of Wisconsin-Madison Press. Print
National Coalition on Health Care specialists. "The American Health System’s Big Problem: Cost." 2012, National Coalition on Health Care Publishing. Print