Healthcare in the US Review

Introduction

In the United States, the existing health care is not universal, even though such programs as Medicaid and Medicare are often relied upon to provide essential health insurance to the disabled, the elderly, and the poorer Americans. To a majority of Americans, health insurance often comes as a provision of the employer, meaning that for part-time workers, the unemployed, and those who are self-employed; they have to cater for their health care insurance expenses (Longley, 2004).

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By 2001, close to 14.6 percent of the population in the United States were not covered by any health insurance. This translates into 11.2 percent of the entire population in the United States. In the year 2004, this figure had increased to 15.6 percent, to stand at 45 million people. According to the Census Bureau of the United States, the significant drop is specially credited to a loss of medical care plans that are often provided by employers, as a result of both the increase in the cost of living and the prevailing bleak economic conditions (Longley, 2004).

According to a recent study that was conducted by Harvard University, medical bills were found to be a principal source of the ever-increasing cases of bankruptcy that are being witnessed in the United States. This study further revealed that a majority of the people that we’re filing for bankruptcy happened to constitute the middle class. They were also shown to have been employees prior to their becoming ill. However, by the time they filed for bankruptcy, these Americans had sadly also lost the claim to their health insurance (Consumer affairs, 2005).

For the residents of the United States, the COBRA has a provision that makes it possible for those people who are leaving a certain form of employment to still depend on the health insurance scheme of their former companies. This is an Act that offers a collective settlement of the financial plan of those workers that loses employment the green-light to join another health insurance fund of their choice. The rate of maintaining such an insurance plan however tends to be twice that paid by those employees who are still employed.

When a person who is both employed and has health insurance loses their job, then they also tend to lose their medical coverage, owing to the lack of resources to continue remitting to the health insurance of COBRA. In the 1960s and later on in the 1990s, there were drastic efforts to offer universal health care. These attempts were however frustrated by extensive resistance from politicians who were opposed to the government having a controlling effect on medicine.

In addition, some business groups also objected to extra regulation of both the insurance and the healthcare industries. The federal Act on active labor and emergency medical treatment has a clause those supplies that emergency care ought to be given to the needy. Nevertheless, it has not been generally established that the accessibility of widespread health care in the United States ought to be taken into consideration as being a right, thus making it possible to be taken care of by funds from the public (Bergman, 2002).

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Stakeholders in the United States health care

The taxpayers

Taxpayers as stakeholders in the American health care sector are usually opposed to a policy that leans towards increased taxes. However, they also tend to embrace those policies that attempt to limit the payments that a provider contributes (Kovne & Jonas 2002).

Patients

As another group of stakeholders, patients tend to favor health care policies that involve an all-encompassing coverage, one that is concerned with the provision of the quality car as well as reduced costs. On the other hand, patients will often loathe a policy that would put a limit to their accessing health care services, as well as a rise in the payments that they normally make (Kovne & Jonas, 2002).

Providers

On their part, the health care providers wish to have autonomy, and also enjoy comprehensive coverage of their patients, while at the same time also being able to maintain decent incomes (Kovne & Jonas, 2002). Nevertheless, the providers do not find those policies that attempt to limit payments being attractive.

Suppliers and vendors

Suppliers and vendors greatly favor policies that are more inclined towards research funding, and also comprehensive coverage, but loathes those with limited payments by providers (Kovne & Jonas, 2002).

Payers and employers

This group favors cost-containment policies, those that embrace simplification of the administration, while also helping in the elimination of the shifting of costs. They however do not favor government regulation policies (Kovne & Jonas, 2002).

Regulators

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This is the realm of the government. The government often tends to favor policies that facilities both disclosure and reporting by providers, while also paving way for enhanced access to care. In addition, the government will also be soft on policies that tackle the issue of cost containment, as well as the quality of provided care. Sadly for some of the other stakeholders, the government is usually opposed to the presence of autonomy in the health care sector (Kovne & Jonas, 2002).

Policy analysis

Key variables in the health care sector

Autonomy

The cause of disease, as well as the suffering of the disadvantaged members of society, has its basis in the way society has been organized. When the basic autonomy needs of an individual, as well as freedom and empowerment, have not been addressed, then this could as well be a crucial source of disease, much like an economic deprivation does. It is the moral obligation of the health care providers to ensure that a sick patient gets better (Mamdani 2006).

Not only are health practitioners called upon to enhance public health, but they are also required to see to it that inequalities in the health sectors are addressed. It is this sense of moral obligation that led to the establishment of the Social Health Determinants Commission by the World Health Organization. The commission was charged with the task of identifying policies that would ensure the realization of equality in the sector (Mamdani, 2006).

Government regulation

Thanks to the current high expenses in the regulation of health services, there are over 7 million Americans who are without health insurance. This translates into about one in every six persons that have been insured. Furthermore, over 4, 000 more Americans have been shown to die annually as a result of regulation of health cares service costs, in comparison to the 18,000 that die out of unavailable health insurance (Conover, 2004).

Values pertaining to health care debate

The extensive rise in the cost of health care, coupled with a reduction in the number of Americans who enjoy stable benefits have ensured that insecurity in matters of health is now a common and shared experience among a majority of Americans (Hacker, 2007).

Conclusion

Given the tribulations that the health sectors have endured in the United States, it becomes important that there be both the organizational realities, as well as political constraints, are addressed collectively. Rather than letting everyone purchase their healthy insurances privately, perhaps the most promising step forward would be to modify the prevailing structure, to enable it to accommodate even those workers who have either been sacked or changed employment (Hacker, 2007).

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In addition, this proposed change should be one that is not only self-reinforcing but also certainly capable of providing health security that is also expandable. The issue of comprehensive coverage is an important policy in nearly all the categories of the stakeholders that are involved in the health care sector. When a health care service does not have comprehensive coverage, then it means that it may not be able to address the needs of those people who may be in a dire need of it (Hacker, 2006).

Secondly, it also means that the government on its part would be failing its citizens by not regulating the health care sector. Moreover, a lack of comprehensive coverage would also do harm to suppliers and vendors who are dependent on the success of the health care sector. Providers also have to ensure that there is comprehensive coverage so that they can be able to realize their goals and objectives.

Work cited

  1. Bergman, Mike (2002). Health Insurance in America. Commerce department of the United States news.Conover, Christopher (2004).
  2. “Health care regulation” policy analysis.
  3. Consumer affairs (2005). “Medical Bills Leading Cause of Bankruptcy, Harvard Study Finds”. Journal of consumer affairs. Web.
  4. Hacker, Jacob. “The great risk shift: the assault on American jobs, families, health care, and retirement—and how you can fight back”. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  5. Hacker, Jacob. (2007). “Health care for America”.
  6. Kovner, Anthony & Jonas, Steve. Healthcare delivery in the United States. New York: Springer publishing company, 2002. Web.
  7. Longley, Robert. (2004) “Number of uninsured, poverty rate both climb”. Web.
  8. Mamdani, Bashir. (2006). “The social hierarchy of health”. Indian journal of medical ethics. Web.

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