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|← The US Healthcare Delivery System||Health Care Fraud and Abuse →|
Health care is an essential service that concerns lives of almost every American citizen at rare and vulnerable times. Recently, technology and pharmaceuticals have significantly improved the health care delivery. According to Anderson, citizens spent almost $ 5,267 per capita for health care in 2002, which was 53 % higher than in any other country (Anderson et al., 2005). The main reason for this high cost was the delivery constraints that formed a waiting list and influenced the amount of mismanagement litigation and defensive medicine in the United States. The actual spending is now unevenly distributed among different segments of the population and across the board.
The distribution of the spending is also done according to the diseases that are being treated, and an individual paying the bill. The analysis clearly shows that 5% of the population takes care of almost half of the entire health care expenses. Furthermore, 44% of expenditures are catered for by the 15 most expensive health establishments in the United States. Another factor is that patients who have several chronic conditions pay up to seven times more than the ones with single chronic conditions. Medicare, Medicaid, private insurers, employers, and consumers are the principal representatives of health care payers. Although the spending patterns change over time, they should find the best tactics to control the rising healthcare costs (Stanton, 2005). It is clearly seen that health care spending is shared among the public and private sector; for instance, employers provide health care insurance for employees and members of their families.
Health expenditures in the United States came close to $2.6 trillion in 2010, which was almost ten times more that it was spent in the 1980s. It is estimated to continue growing faster than the national income in the future, and the greatest concern is how to address the burden of the rising costs. For several years since 2001, the health coverage for an employee and their family members, which is catered for by the employee, has rapidly increased by 113%. This has enacted cost burdens on employers and employees payments. Medicare plays a particularly prominent role in the public sector, and it covers the elderly and disabled people (Anderson et al, 2005). Another stakeholder in the public sector is Medicaid, which caters for low income earning families. This change has resulted in the increase of the government spending, and it is really straining the federal government resources. It is estimated that during the closure of the year 2010, health spending were estimated to be 17.9% of the GDP.
The main concerns are the rising of costs and lack of access of individuals to health care. Of the two concerns, the most disturbing one is cost increase, which is also an economic problem in the United States. It is seen in various polls that Americans are more concerned about the rising cost of health care followed with other facts like unemployment, retirement saving, and gas prices. The majority of insured adults claimed that health insurance premiums had hiked over the last five years. They also said that the payments and insurance deductibles had also risen over the past five years. Now, around 18% of Americans state that health care costs constitute the biggest monthly expense.
It is estimated that a quarter of Americans have a problem with paying their health care bills, and some percentage has outstanding balances. These statistics show that health care cost has been high for the citizens, and it would probably rise more in the future (Bloom, 1998). Most of the problems that they face while paying the bills of primary care are the doctor’s bills, lab fees, and purchase of the prescribed drugs. The third of the adults are said to have skipped medical treatment, or deduced the amount of pills intake due to high costs. This bill-paying problem has a significant impact on American families. Others claim that they have gone to the extent of delaying medical treatment for themselves and their family members because of the high costs. This shows how serious high costs of health care have affected citizens.
The high health care costs have brought out the need for the United States health care system to enact fundamental changes. The majority of the population is complaining about the high healthcare costs and the declining health care coverage. This means that the health care system is already ruined and highly ineffective (Stanton, 2005). However, these changes are expected to be driven by the government. Most Americans when asked suggest that a universal health insurance program, according to which everyone is medically covered, is what they want (Bloom, 1998). Furthermore, the citizens also indicate that such program as Medicare must be implemented. It is operated by the government and funded by taxpayers. The citizens recommend that the government should guarantee health insurance. The proposed universal health insurance program is meant to replace the current employer based insurance policy, which is seen as too expensive. The public also states that they are entitled to pay extra taxes for as long as every American will receive a health care cover.
The future needs of the health care payments are determined by the unprecedented crisis that exists in access and rising costs. It is obvious that the great recession has demonstrated that a significant number of Americans cannot rely on health insurance received from their employers. This fact has been declined for the past decade, and those companies that were offering coverage, they have now refused from their offer (Bloom, 1998). The numbers of uninsured people rise and a small percentage of those is able to afford underfunded public programs. With time, the health care demand is also increasing, yet the capacity of health care programs to meet these challenges is not reliable because of the continuing shortage of physician specialties.
The future will demand a legislation to address the problem of shortage of physicians by reforming their payment programs. This will be done with the help of the government funding primary care training of the physicians. The legislation will be required to fund projects for innovative payment programs to cater for health care delivery and research work. Further steps will be required to reduce per capita health care spending (Stanton, 2005). There could be a need to promote health care savings accounts in the future. This will allow tax credits for the citizens who require health care services. Medicare may be put under serious reforms, which include testing for the wealthy recipients. This is because Medicare and Medicaid offer services to most of the population; thus, standardized services should be enhanced. It means that in order to get a better solution in the health care system the two providers should well function.
In the future, there will be a need for a bureaucratic decision-making to establish who and what service will get and at what cost (Bloom, 1998). The rise of the economic challenges will force the government to provide a better infrastructure to enhance a consumer driven and free competition in the health sector. There will be a need for the state to provide a strategized market so that citizens can gain access to a variety of affordable services. The government should support consumer related services in the health sector by pulling off individual insurance policies. The most appealing solution to the heath care problem is implementation of health savings accounts, which will cater for daily medical expenses.