According to statistics, America spends more per-capita income than any other developed nation but its quality of health is much lower which suggests waste and inefficiency (Lindeque, 2011). Additionally, a huge number of its population does not have health insurance while the health programs such as Medicaid and Medicare have proved to be liabilities to the government. The financial impact of these challenges has therefore called for major reforms in the health sector. In view of this, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law to address the underlying problems. The current system can be viewed as an example of failure that needs the government to intervene. Therefore, this issue has become a major campaign policy among the Republicans and the Democrats each with different strategies.
According to Lindeque (2011), the cost of healthcare in the United States is the highest relative to the Gross Domestic Product. In 2014, the total cost of spending in the healthcare sector was about $3 trillion, equivalent to about $9523 per person which is about seventeen percent of the GDP (Orszag, 2016). This kind of spending is fifty percent more than any other developed nations such as Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia. The Medicare and Medicaid programs spent about $4197 per person compared to $2802 spent by the National Health Service that insures citizens in the United Kingdom (Page, 2016). However, Lindeque (2011) indicates that despite the high spending, the countrys outcomes on the rate of chronic conditions, infant mortality, and Obesity was worse. For instance, the life expectancy in the U.S in 2014 was 78.8 years while that in Switzerland, whose per-capita spending is $6325, was 82.9 years at the same period (Orszag, 2016).
The health care system in the united states appears to have failed and needs to be overhauled. Despite being the only country among the counterparts that do not offer universal health coverage, the cost of healthcare sponsored by the government is the highest per-capita. The number of physicians and hospitals visits are significantly lower in the country than others. According to Orszag (2016), the citizens of America appear to be only bigger consumers of pharmaceuticals and medical technology such as CT scans and MRIs. About 20-30% of health expenditure goes to waste through over treating patients, lack of care coordination, bureaucracy in the system administration, and fraud (Page, 2016). Public opinion from various pollsters has indicated that the citizens are in favor of single payer systems and National Health Insurance for all rather than Medicaid to ensure universal access to quality healthcare. (Page, 2016).
In his administration, President Obama introduced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 as part of the healthcare reform. This law requires the insurance providers to accept all those who apply and cover specific health conditions at the same rate regardless of the existing conditions (Orszag, 2016). This act has remained controversial with opposition from some voters and states. It has therefore become a major policy during the presidential campaigns with support from the Democrats and opposition from the Republicans. In his campaign, the Republican presidential candidate Trump had pledged to abolish the Act and replace it with a new system. He proposed reforms based on principles of free market in which he would introduce deductions in tax for health insurance premiums and stop Medicaid grant for states (Page, 2016). He would also make it possible to inherit health savings account and lower regulatory barriers for international drug providers (Page, 2016). On the other hand, Clinton the Democratic candidate had pledged to support and improve the Obama Act and allow citizens to enroll even at fifty-five years. She also suggested integration of the mental and physical healthcare system to improve access of care to the large number of people with mental health issues (Page, 2016).
There are a number of reforms being suggested to improve the outcome of the health system in the US. Lindeque (2011) indicates that single-payer health care system would be the best for the country. In this system, agencies organize financing of health care but delivery of care is left private. It would ensure all US citizens are covered. Funds would come from a more streamlined public kitty and modest taxes from the population depending on the ability to pay. It emphasizes on preventive healthcare funds whose cost is shared between the state and the individuals to reduce health inequalities being experienced currently.
The United States need to come up with a better health care system whose outcome is in tandem with the amount of funds used. A number of reforms being suggested should be taken into consideration as the current Obamacare has no definite future in terms of improving health care access and affordability in the country.
Lindeque, B. (2009). American Health Care System Disaster. Orthopedics, 32(8), 551-552.
Orszag, P. (2016). US Health Care Reform. JAMA, 316 (5), 493.
Page, L. (2016). What Donald Trump Would Do with the US healthcare System. BMJ, i2996.
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