The American healthcare systems has been indicated to be “sick” because of failing to attend and successfully attend to current and present difficulties-that could also be experienced in future. Most of the Americans (1 out of 6) do not enjoy health insurance cover. There have been reported high medical drug and procedure abuse in the United States, rising spending in health care, and high administrative costs in health sector. In addition, the United States continue to suffer poor organization, delivery and financing problems in the healthcare system. The 2008 presidential candidates have given it a short to try and solve some of the problems in the healthcare. This paper discuses the need for reforms in the current practice, recommendations while relating to the preliminary plans by two 2008 presidential candidates-the president-elect Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.
Citizens of the United States have since World War II relied on insurance coverage from their own wages namely employer-based insurance. This has been the source of financing of the U.S. insurance. This practice is not adequate since it does not cater for the minimum-wage earner, and the fact that community distrust as a result of bad actions by firms offering insurance coverage and competition even from international employer firms, many firms in the U.S. do not solicit enough profits to provide adequate insurance coverage. Workers in small business firms that carry 80% of the employees in the United States are paying up premiums of up to 18% more than those paid by employees in large firms according to a research by Commonwealth Fund and according to NFIB-National Federation of Independent Business, these small firms are finding it hard due to the expensive healthcare insurance (Wells Fargo Small Business Roundup). Means-tested insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid suffer from problems such as inconsistencies in individual medical coverage due to inconsistencies in individual eligibility to them, cause employees to be highly taxed since the subsidies are indicated as incomes, may lead to giving of false information by individuals on income reported, and stress on financing from state government which make them compromise financing other services like education. A program like Medicare is expensive for example due to expenditure in technology that may outdo the benefits, and offer of physicians free-for-service. In addition, employees, in a time when they require it most, may loose the jobs, the premiums and the insurance cover as a result of serious illness or injury.
The government, as a result of lack of enough financing of the health care, many physicians do not enjoy the benefits of Information Technology that could lead to improved healthcare for example through electronic medical records (EMRs) system which the government could help reduce their costs. Senator Hillary proposed cutting of health spending by $120 billion a year through her program, and this would probably reduce the cost of insurance.
There has been reform recommendation on the way out through incremental means of increasing the number of insured people for example through mandating the employer to cover employees at a particular level, give subsides to those without health insurance cover to allow them buy the cover in the free market such as a plan by the president elect Barak Obama in his proposal for healthcare plan (Bunce & Matthews) decreasing the age of eligibility to the Medicare program and increasing the level of income for eligibility to the Medicaid arrangement. As a presidential candidate, Senator Obama had proposed that there be a public program to cover the uninsured who do not qualify for the Medicaid in addition to expanding Medicaid and SCHIP. There has been a recommendation to subsidize providers to install electronic medical records which may carry the advantages of similar system recommendation of emphasizing a computerized medical record-keeping by Senator Clinton and Barak Obama as presidential candidates (Bunce & Mathews), and paying for performance. The former would help providers but again the problem of inadequate funds for subsidies may arise (Fuchs, & Emanuel). NFIB has proposed a healthcare that is universal and of quality, affordable and through private providers, competitive, portable, and which is based on evidence among other characteristics (Wells Fargo Small Business Roundup). While private insurance may be the answer according to NFIB, adjustments will need to be made since for example the children with private health insurance cannot benefit from most recent vaccines to diseases like hepatitis A, pneumonia and chicken pox and parents will have to incur extra-expense for the services (Houston Chronicle). Another problem with the third-party-payment insurance system where the employer pays the bill is the lack of control services by the employee (Okamura; in Re: Houston Chronicle).
Bunce, V. C., Matthews, M. (2007). The 2008 presidential candidates on health care reform. Web.
Fuchs, V. R. and Emanuel, E. J. (2005). Health Care reform: Why? What? When? Health Affairs 24 (6), 1399-1414. Web.
Re: Houston Chronicle (2007): Time for universal health care in the USofA. Web.
Wells Fargo Small Business Roundup (2008). Reforming Health Care reform. Web.