HEALTHCARE QUESTIONS 8
An analysis of the US healthcare system indicates that there arevarious characteristics that differentiate from those of the rest ofthe countries across the world. The US healthcare system is uniquefrom that of the other developed countries. The healthcare system inAmerica does not have a universal coverage for healthcare like theother developed countries. The healthcare system in the US has beendescribed as a hybrid system. This is for the reason that healthcareinsurance provision is not provided by the government in full, but itis provided by multiplayers in the private sector (Shi & Singh,2012). The cost of healthcare in America is also extremely high,unlike in other developed countries. However, the governmenthealthcare spending per capita in the United States is higher than inother countries. Lastly, the quality of healthcare in America isdescribed as being of low quality compared to that of countries suchas Australia, Canada, Germany and Netherlands.
Determinants of healthcare fall under various broad categories, whichare highlighted below
Policy making is a major determinant in healthcare industry, and itsignificantly affects the health of the people. Government policiessuch increased taxes on tobacco can significantly reduce the healthrisks associated with tobacco usage. The US government is using thedeterminant of policy making to develop and implement a universalhealthcare provision system for all in the United States (Reid,2010). This is expected positively to affect the provision of healthservices to low and the middle class citizens in the United States.
Social and physical determinants of health also play a significantrole in the healthcare sector. They include the physical environmentthat people reside, learn, play or work. This determinant also coversthe provision of social support by the government, such as schools,security, job opportunities and healthy foods. The government hasbeen in the lead in the delivery of social services such as qualityeducation and also enhancing security amongst the people.
Individual behaviors that directly affect the health of anindividual is also a chief element of health. For instance, thechoice of healthy foods, the choice to quit smoking or the choice toengage in physical activity enhances the health of an individual.Public health providers in the United States have played a leadingrole in informing and advising the members of the public on the bestindividual behaviors that will positively influence their health.
Health services accessibility and the quality of health services isanother key determinant of health. Healthcare services must beaccessible, affordable and of standard quality to all citizens. Anyattempt to deviate from these principles will lead to the provisionof low healthcare services. The American government has tried toenhance the quality and accessibility of healthcare. This is evidentthrough certain policies such as the universal healthcare provisionand insurance.
Market and social justice are two aspects which are different, butrelated to one another. Social justice in the healthcare provisionsector requires that each resident in the United States is accordedequal healthcare services, regardless of his economic or socialstatus in the society. The United States has developed social justicein healthcare albeit partly. It is evident that congress is in theprocess of implementing Obama care, which is a health insuranceprogram aimed at providing quality and affordable healthcare to allcitizens. Market justice also exists in the US healthcare industrywhere individuals cater for their healthcare services depending ontheir individual effort. This can be seen through the extremelycostly health services in the US.
Drug companies are great beneficiaries when congress commitsbillions of dollars to drugs. This reduces the amount spent on othermedical services. Insurance providers Lobbyists are known to havebeen influencing the people’s representatives such as senators topass policies, which will make it mandatory for every citizen to haveinsurance plans from them. It is clearly evident that stakeholders inthe healthcare sector have a great influence in the development andimplementation of various policies (Spekowius & Wendler, 2006).Health insurance providers and drug suppliers engage the governmentthrough numerous television advertisements. These advertisements areaimed at coercing the government to act in a way that will favor thespecial interest groups.
The stakeholders in the healthcare sector of the US have played acritical in the failure of developing a universal national healthinsurance. Health Insurance companies and the American MedicalAssociation (AMA) have used their economic powers to thwart anyattempts by the government to develop a national healthcareinsurance. The government has also failed to commit enough resourcesin terms of funding to the projects that would ensure that a nationalhealth insurance policy is developed (Reid, 2010). However, therehave also been rumors that a national healthcare insurance systemwould lead to the provision of low quality services to the people.Similarly, the cost of implementing a national healthcare insurancehas been described as being extremely expensive to fund.
Technology can be a chief factor in reducing the health care costs.The use electronic health records would ensure that recording isextremely easy and patient information record can be retrieved andrecorded safely. The number of subordinate staff in the health careindustry would reduce significantly as a result of using technology.Jobs that were previously done by humans will be replaced by machines(Spekowius & Wendler, 2006). Disease management systems are alsovital in managing chronic diseases hence reducing health care costsof controlling such diseases. Technology in the health sector isbased on quality outcome. This is contrary to the old based,volume-based, fee-for-service models.
Technology has changed access to health services significantly.Immense information is available on the internet in regard to varioushealth topics and diseases. In addition, there are doctors who areavailable online and provide free or pay services in regard tovarious health problems. People can also access information onhealthy living online. However, it is vital to be watchful whenaccessing health information from the internet (Spekowius &Wendler, 2006). Most of the information sourced from the internet hasno authentic authors and can therefore be misleading. Patients canalso access their health records from various health care providerswho have adopted the electronic health records.
Globalization has seen the internationalization ofhealthcare. The quality of health services has improved significantlyas a result of globalization. Patients from countries withsub-standard health services are able to seek medical attention andtreatment from developed countries. Patients run to countries wherequality health services are available at lower costs. Similarly,medical practitioners are able to offer their services in differentcountries. Globalization of health care also comes with the aspect ofcirculation of drugs to all parts of the world (Spekowius &Wendler, 2006). Drugs are nowadays distributed all across the world.It is critical to note that the movement of people across variouscountries has also posed a health risk to residents of hostcountries. Diseases are spread through people who move from onecountry to the other.
Gatekeepers are extremely important in the provision of primarycare. These are health professionals who coordinates and manages theprovision of healthcare services to individuals who are covered withcertain health programs. The gatekeepers ensure that patients areprovided with the best medical care by the doctors. It is alsoimperative to note that the gatekeeper are responsible for ensuringthat patients are not overcharged and that the treatment they receiveis commensurate to their bundled payments (Spekowius & Wendler,2006). This is helpful in capitated payments where patients pay acertain amount for health service provision per year. The gatekeeperworks closely with the doctors and the patient to provide qualitycare within the capitated annual fee.
Third parties have been accused of fueling the rising costs healthcare provision. Contrary to earlier times when patients had thechoice of their healthcare provider and the kind of services toreceive, health insurance companies are making that choice on theirbehalf. Whereas patients may be paying a lesser amount in terms ofcash, research has indicated that the patient bears a cost of notpaying for medical care (Shi & Singh, 2012). Economic expertshave pointed that a third of all healthcare budget is used throughadministration. This is due to third party stakeholders such asinsurance providers. Insurance providers have the right of choosingwhere and what kind of health services a patient receives.
Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2012). Delivering health care inAmerica: A systems approach. Sudbury, Mass: Jones & BartlettLearning.
Reid, T. R. (2010). The healing of America: A global quest forbetter, cheaper, and fairer health care. New York: Penguin Press
Spekowius, G., & Wendler, T. (2006). Advances in healthcaretechnology: Shaping the future of medical care. Dordrecht:Springer.