The Impact of Health Care in the United States
Category : Health Care System
Healthcare Organization And Delivery
MT-371 Midterm Project
“The Impact of Health Care in the United States”
Different diseases threaten the lives of many people around the world. But in particular, many diseases are now being treated in the United States, such as cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, flu, tuberculosis, and many more. This is why, each individual in the United States must have a health insurance to ensure that his or her health problems would be given a solution. It has reported that undisputedly, the wealth of a country is judged by the health of its people, and worldwide, nations are seeking viable answers to the question of how to offer a health care system, which leads to improvements in the health status of their citizens ( 2006). However, improving an individual’s health means more than a doctor visit, and instead is a collaborative approach, which involves financial support, strategic planning, and health prioritizing legislation involving the government, community leaders and private and public health care professionals ( 2006). This is why having a health insurance is a vital necessity.
The impact in health insurance
Health care is an important aspect in the lives of each individual. (1996) stated that to meet healthcare needs at all, a health service must be available, accessible, effective and relevant to needs . This is why people choose to have a good health care insurance from a company, which offers good services. (2004) reported that when a person does not have a health insurance, the person can delay getting medical care until he or she can afford it. The delay in medical care increases the risk of complications and the advancement of health problems, and therefore, when a person without health insurance finally seeks medical care, the costs are normally greater ( 2004).
In line with this, it was explained that efforts to increase access to health care typically focus on providing health insurance or on securing a place that will care for the uninsured. Strong evidence suggests that having a usual source of care produces better health outcomes, reduced disparities, and reduced cost ( 2004). Growing evidence suggests that the combination of health insurance and having a usual source of care has additive effects for quality, and that insurance changes that disrupt continuity relationships can lead to higher costs and poorer quality for up to a year ( 2004). Furthermore, it was reported that people without health insurance are consistently found to receive lower levels of essential care, education, monitoring and examinations, given that these preventive interventions are associated with decreased risk of disabling and life-threatening complications ( 2006). As a proof to this claim, a 2000 study focused on various aspects of diabetes care, including eye and foot examinations, monitoring and education, revealed that people with diabetes without insurance were significantly less likely to receive appropriate diabetes care when compared to those with private health insurance ( 2006).
The impact in medical care
(2004) reported that new medical technology, such as the MRI or the Magnetic Resonance Imaging, allows doctors to see inside the body and more accurately diagnose conditions. They also let doctors diagnose conditions earlier, leading to a more complete recovery for the patient. In addition, new surgical techniques involving little or no cutting are also improvements related to medical technology. New therapies and treatment improve the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic or terminal conditions, and new vaccines offer better prevention and are now part of routine child medical care ( 2004).
The author also added that one of the key drivers of the rising cost of healthcare is hospital care. Between 2001 and 2002, the cost of outpatient services was the fastest growing part of healthcare, increasing by about 15%, while the inpatient hospital costs, which make up the largest single component of healthcare costs, rose by 6% ( 2004). In line with this, most researchers agree that the primary reason the cost for outpatient care has increased is due to the cost of using the outpatient setting for medical procedures is no longer less expensive than having procedures done during hospital admissions. While inpatient hospital cost increases are due to the increase in the use of more expensive technology, higher labor costs because of the growing shortage of nurses, hospital consolidation and increasing costs for hospital admissions even though the length of hospital stays has decreased ( 2004).
The impact of health care for the elderly
The United States is an aging population, as the average age of its members is 47 years old, and by 2008, about 15% of the general population will be 65 years of age or older (2004). Because of this, necessary health care programs and facilities must be given to the elderly. Some of the elderly in the United States reside in a nursing home. They are being sent there by their families to be taken care of because their family members themselves cannot take care of them. However, the elderly do not always achieve proper care in the nursing home. This is because, as (2001) reports, the facilities in private as well as public nursing homes are understaffed, have high turnover rates and many of their workers, skilled or unskilled, leave as soon as they can find a position elsewhere with a little higher pay and a little lower patient loads ().
and (2005) reported that the dominant issue in American medicine for the immediate future will be how we adjust to the demographic realities of an aging society. It will cause much agony in a medical profession trained to assume that there are virtually unlimited resources available and that cost is never a consideration. Today’s challenge is to see what the solutions to past problems are doing to the future (2005). This applies with special urgency to our health care programs especially for the elderly, as the government is less likely to support them to allocate people’s taxes to other things, despite the advancement of science and technology. Despite the cost cutting of the government regarding this matter, the care for the elderly must not be alleviated, but instead must be reinforced as a sign of respect to them and gratitude.
Government Support for Healthcare
It was reported that government health programs face critical business challenges in containing costs and ensuring citizen health and safety 2006). The United States government acts as the financer, deliverer and overall steward of health systems. As stated, the federal and state government funding of health care needs of its citizens is limited to Medicare and Medicaid insurance programs for the eligible senior, very poor or disabled persons (2006). In addition, health insurance must be paid for privately, otherwise, and, in most cases, is provided by a person’s employer. However, there are about 46 million Americans who do not have health insurance, and it is one of the most expensive items in the nation’s budgets (2006).
Furthermore, the government supports health care systems by funding and supporting the innovation and improvement of information technology. In this way, the advancement of science and technology can help in providing better cure and care for those who need them.
It was reported that people are getting much more sophisticated when it comes to their health care choices. With this, the direction from a provider and a health care plan perspective is to provide the end user, in this case the patient, with more information as well as robust tools to proactively manage their health and their finances ( 2006). For most health plans, consumer driven health has quickly evolved beyond the concept of a product to become a corporate-wide consumer driven strategy. Due to this, it requires health plans to shift the center of their operational focus from claims and payment transactions to high touch customer interactions. As stated, beyond simply designing and administering benefits and paying claims, health plans now need to deliver first class service that focuses on the experience and health of the consumer (2006).
Moreover, it has been reported that as new technologies and channels for communication become established, such as the Internet, distance is eliminated or minimized, and information is often available immediately (2001). With this, consumers become more demanding and are able to get what they want because of the amount of information that they have. Consumers now have the power to change their health insurances as soon as possible whenever they do not fully utilize them, and health insurance companies readily modify and improve their services to meet the consumers’ demands. In this fashion, it fosters a win-win situation and both parties benefit from the situation.
A healthy nation should provide the necessary benefits for each and every of its citizens and one way to do this is to make health insurance available for each. We must also prioritize the health of individuals, as the work force is one way to determine the success and power of a country. As suggested, we need to promote healthy behavior by providing a range of exercise and sport activities for our youth, adults and elderly (2006). We need to support an increase in health seeking behaviors motivated by education, through the school system, civic groups and public information. We must also strive to improve the health care system by creating an environment that encourages and rewards quality of care by the professionals.Through tightly coordinated partnerships with medical, social, educational, business, civic and religious organizations of this country, we can develop a comprehensive and coordinated health care system (2006).