Health care reform is a powerful strategy for supporting the economic position of a nation. The approach presents evidence-based ideas and policies that can improve health care delivery processes. A healthy nation is linked to improved productivity, reduced medical expenses, and economic superiority. Using the HITECH Act, this descriptive paper analyses the unique issues surrounding health care reform in the United States.
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Impacts of Health Care Reform on the Economy
Beland, Rocco, and Waddan (2016) assert that poor health outcomes catalyze a wide range of challenges that can disorient the economy. For instance, individuals who are forced to incur numerous medical costs have increased chances of becoming bankrupt. On a macro level, health care reform presents new opportunities and models for supporting the emerging needs of more people, insurers, and medical services providers. Consequently, every beneficiary records positive health outcomes, thereby engaging in a wide range of activities that can have positive economic impacts.
Health care reform has remained a critical idea for introducing new procedures, guidelines, and programs that have the potential to address the medical needs of the greatest number of people. More often than not, reform in the sector is informed by issues such as health disparities, marginalization, and economic goals. The implementation of appropriate reforms results in improved health care systems (McDonough, 2015). The outcome is that more people are empowered to engage in a wide range of activities that can boost a country’s economic strength.
Adequate policies and laws supporting healthcare practices can create the best environment for the government to focus on other social issues affecting its people. This means that the targeted country can use its resources to promote economic performance, support small-scale businesses, and deal with social challenges such as crime and cyber insecurity (Wireko & Beland, 2017). This discussion shows that various elements of health care reform are capable of impacting the economy on a macro level scale.
Governmental Policy Process
A powerful policy process was undertaken by the government to develop, implement, and assess the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. The Act is currently guiding the government (under the United States Department of Health and Human Services) to spend over 25 billion US dollars to support the use of advanced technologies in health care (Oberlander, 2017). The policy has been declared by many scholars as important legislation that will continue to support the health care reform agenda in the country. The Act outlines several subtitles that inform evidence-based approaches for introducing and using health information technology (HIT).
The origin of the bill is attributed to the Democratic Congressional Committee (DCC). The members and leaders of this committee held several meetings to develop a preliminary report outlining various recovery efforts and packages. This led to the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (Jacobs, 2014). The U.S. Congress enacted the package in 2009 and became law after being signed by Barrack Obama. The HITECH Act was, therefore, ratified as part of the ARRA (Article 13). This means that Congress analyzed the bill presented by the DCC, debated, and approved it by the house’s standing orders (Oberlander, 2017). The assessment was done by the Congress from January 2009. The bill was sponsored by the House Appropriations Committee chairman by the name David Obey. President Barack Obama signed the bill, thereby becoming an American law on 16th February 2009 (McDonough, 2015). The bill was sponsored and supported by the Democrats.
Issues Arising from the Governmental Policy Process
The governmental policy process played a significant role throughout the passage and development of this health reform policy. To begin with, the original bill was proposed by Democrats who were in power during the time. The fact that the majority seat in Congress belonged to this party made it easier for the representatives to enact and support the bill (Jacobs, 2014). This was the case because most of the Republicans in Congress were opposed to the policy.
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This situation reveals that the law could not have become a reality if power was in the hands of the Republicans. It is evident that the government policy process streamlined the way the policy was assessed, developed, and implemented (Green et al., 2015). With Barack Obama as the country’s president, it was easier for the government to provide adequate funds and ensure that more healthcare institutions embraced the concept of meaningful use.
What should be understood from this description is that the government policy process can facilitate or hinder the way different bills are passed to become laws. Policymakers should, therefore, focus on the benefits associated with different policies and support them (Jacobs, 2014). The important thing is for every involved stakeholder to identify laws to transform the outcomes and experiences of every American citizen.
Stakeholders in the Health Care System
The above policy proposal can impact the major stakeholders in the health care sector such as hospital systems, insurers, and consumers. To begin with, the policy creates the best environment for hospitals and healthcare facilities to embrace the use of modern technologies (Green et al., 2015). The approach will redefine jobs and care delivery processes, thereby minimizing expenses and making it easier for institutions to achieve their potential.
Different consumers will also be supported by this Act. This is the case because the idea behind meaningful use is to streamline healthcare delivery processes, minimize medical errors, improve the rate at which decisions are made, and promote the concept of telemedicine. These achievements will ensure that more patients have access to quality, timely, and efficient services (Beland et al., 2016). However, the policy might result in a new system whereby consumers pay additional expenses. The important thing is for the government to support this reform agenda to meet the needs of more consumers.
Insurers stand a chance to benefit from this reform. The use of electronic health records (EHRs) and systems can minimize medical risks. This achievement means that many insurers will not be required to pay for such practice issues or mistakes (Jacobs, 2014). The concept of meaningful use will streamline healthcare processes and reduce the risks incurred by insurance companies.
Health care reform is an ongoing process whose aim is to transform or improve the quality of services available to different populations. Proper laws have the potential to support economic performance and improve the outcomes of more people. Different stakeholders such as insurers, consumers, and health organizations stand a chance to benefit from this reform. In conclusion, policymakers should always focus on the positive aspects of proposed reform agendas to support the welfare of the greatest number of citizens.
Beland, D., Rocco, P., & Waddan, A. (2016). Obamacare and the politics of universal health insurance coverage in the United States. Social Policy & Administration: An International Journal of Policy and Research, 50(4), 428-451. Web.
Green, L. A., Potworowski, G., Day, A., May-Gentile, R., Vibbert, D., Maki, B., & Kiesel, L. (2015). Sustaining “meaningful use” of health information technology in low-resource practices. Annals of Family Medicine, 13(1), 17-22. Web.
Jacobs, L. R. (2014). Health reform and the future of American politics. Perspectives on Politics, 12(3), 631-642. Web.
McDonough, J. E. (2015). The United States health system in transition. Health Systems & Reform, 1(1), 39-51. Web.
Oberlander, J. (2017). The art of repeal – Republicans’ health care reform muddle. The New England Journal of Medicine, 376(16), 1497-1499. Web.
Wireko, I., & Beland, D. (2017). Transnational actors and health care reform: Why international organizations initially opposed, and later supported, social health insurance in Ghana. International Journal of Social Welfare, 26(4), 405-415. Web.