Healthcare is an expensive and limited resource in the United States of America. Healthcare currently accounts for one-seventh of the economy, approximately 1.3 trilliondollars a year.
The government spends about half, 75 million dollars, on programs likeMedicare and Medicaid to support the poor and elderly populations. While insurancecompanies, out-of-pocket expenses, and charities account for the other half of healthcosts (Markus Nov. 27). Still, there are 43 million people without health insurance, 10million of which are children. Children and adults in non-western countries enjoy anational health program where everyone is covered by the government. However thequality of healthcare received in the U.S.
is higher when compared to those of Europeancountries. The United States is the only industrialized nation not to offer a nationalizedhealth care program to its citizens. Healthcare is a fundamental right of all people andshould be treated as a national responsibility rather than a marketable good.
The problem with the current health system is that access to coverage and serviceshas been compromised for large numbers of people, especially the poor and needy andthose with chronic health problems. Individuals and families have seen cutbacks in bothgovernment and employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. Many workers are afraidto change jobs for fear they will lose their health insurance. Many people are uninsuredbecause the premiums are too high and insurers prefer to enroll only the healthy. Andmany small employers are priced out of the health care insurance market entirely. Anincreased life expectancy, consumer demand for top quality health care; rising costs ofhealth providers and hospitals for medical equipment, nursing home care, prescriptiondrugs; increased costs of malpractice insurance; and extraordinary improvements inmedical technology have increased the overall cost of healthcare today.
But the healthcaresystem employed in the United States is structured such that it avoids the trilemma of anationalized healthcare delivery system. The trilemma exists in the maintenance of costs,access, and quality of care. The balance of the three opposing entities is difficult to sustainwith the implementation of a national healthcare delivery system similar to those practicedin European countries like the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. Unlike otherindustrialized nations that created their health insurance systems through specificlegislation, the U.S.
employer-based, accidental system is now the source of coveragefor more than 152 million Americans.There are two main market perspectives prevalent in health care in America today.They are free market competition and government regulation. Each approach offersdifferent costs and benefits, and there is much disagreement as to exactly what those costsand benefits are.
Most people believe that all people are deserving of health care as anethical human right and requiring government regulation because the current healthcaremarket is not efficient enough to cover all people. The market system does not workbecause there is a lack of information among consumer groups and a lack of equalaccessibility. Government regulation increases equity of access and injects the “values ofpolitical accountability, public access to information, and public participation” (Patel 95). The insurance industry that currently dominates the healthcare market is driven by marketforces and the pursuit of profit, which in turn has produced an interest in limiting theaccessibility of healthcare. Markets have centralized the goal of insurance companiesaround profit-making which has caused insurance companies to under-write those withpre-existing conditions or high risk people from coverage. The profit-making objective ofthe healthcare economic market has lead to terribly high costs, and limited access to thebest available care in the world. The market system can flourish if their is an abundance ofhealthcare suppliers, no monopolization of industry, a public informed of their careoptions, and interchangeable goods within the healthcare market.
There are 43 million uninsured people an increase from 39 million last year. Thistrend of declining health coverage needs to be reversed by making health insuranceaffordable for hard-working, low-income families because they make up the largestsegment of the uninsured. With the absence of nationalized healthcare coverage the lessfortunate have a serious difficulty obtaining the care they need and deserve. I wouldsuggest government subsidies sufficient enough to provide a basic plan that includeshospitalization and physician benefits, as well as discounted prescription drugs.
It is mybelief that the massive codification of our health care system has made the accessibility andcosts less conducive to the needs of deserving Americans. Also I believe that the difficultyof implementing reform to universal coverage is due in part, to the apathy among themajority of people who are currently receiving health coverage. Two-thirds of theAmerican people say they favor universal coverage, but the minute you start to spell outwhat that means — subsidization for the people who are poor and who are sick, and thatthe plan has to be compulsory — they are less supportive (Kolata 6). Most people areless likely to support a program that does little in changing their own healthcare coveragewhile increasing their taxes. The best way to open the avenues of healthcare coverage isto reduce the amount of government regulation over state initiated inquiry into moreeffective managed care regulation which would result in better 21st century healthmanagement. Nonetheless there should be a social responsibility to provide health care toeveryone because it is something all people should care about and recognize as a problemBibliography:Patel, K, Rushefshy, M, Health Care Politics and Policy in America M.E.
Sharpe, Inc.Armonk, NY, 1995 Kolata, Gina (2000) “A conversation with Victor Fuchs: An economist’s view ofhealth care reform,” New York Times, May 2, Section F; p. 6. Markus, Gregory B.
Poltical Science 300 Lecture. University of Michigan, 27 November2000.