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The Healthcare Policy in the United States

Introduction

Making reference to Michelle Tickle’s article on the history of healthcare and medical practice in the United States, it is quite evident that the author addresses a number of pertinent issues underlying the topic. But looking at the available factual and numerical data on the old healthcare policy in the United States, one would have to disagree with the sentiments of the author. Currently, one can attest to the fact that the United States has the best available healthcare in the whole world considering the technological changes that have characterized the healthcare industry in the last few decades. However, the way these healthcare services are delivered to all citizens in the country begs some questions. This essay looks at the current state of healthcare policies and the suitability of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in addressing issues regarding the old healthcare policy in the United States.

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The Healthcare Policy before Enactment of PPACA

Healthcare service provision in the United States is largely dominated by the private sector, which also provides health insurance. The government’s stake in healthcare entails programs such as Veterans Healthcare Administration, Medicare, and Children’s Health Insurance Program among others. Studies indicate that over 15.3% of the United States population is uninsured. Moreover, about 35% of the reminder is underinsured and in some instances most citizens are unable to cover their medical expenses. Furthermore, these studies indicate that the greatest percentage of the country’s revenue is pumped into healthcare provision (Roehr, 2008, p. 885).

In addition, statistical studies indicate that the US, which is a developed country, is the only nation which does not provide insurance cover for all its citizens (Thomas & Merrile, 2008, p. 349). Considering that over 50% of the population is unsatisfied with the available healthcare services due to the high cost of service provision and health insurance, there is the need to consider lowering the cost in order to satisfy the medical needs of these people.

The Positive Provisions of PPACA

Enactment of this act in March, 2010 brought with it major developments in the healthcare industry, which are aimed at addressing major health insurance policies and procedures. For instance, the law provides for expansion of the Medicaid program to cover persons making well over 133% of FPL. The law also provides for subsidized health insurance premiums for individuals making more than 400% of FPL (Jackson & Nolen, 2010 par.3). These provisions offer a variety of benefits to many low income earners thereby guaranteeing them the best available healthcare at a subsidized cost. In line with these provisions, the government has also taken measures to cut the cost incurred on healthcare, which is sourced from revenues.

Recommendations

Considering the need for provision of the best healthcare available to all citizens at a lowered and affordable price, it is hereby recommended that;

  • In the course of policy formulation affecting the healthcare systems, there is the need to involve all key players in the industry such as government agencies, healthcare providers, and health insurance Companies among others
  • Planning should also include religious organizations, charities, NGOs, and trade unions to ensure that the healthcare services delivered serves the interests of all participants
  • The policies developed should be sensitive to the needs of healthcare consumers and they should also reflect fair sharing of costs involved.

Conclusion

This essay provides a detailed opinion based on the contents of Michelle Tickle’s article on healthcare systems in the United States. It further provides the most effective recommendations from a personal perspective, which should be applied during the process of planning for healthcare policies. From the discussions, it is worth noting that besides the importance of providing the best available healthcare to the whole population, it is imperative to consider the cost implications involved.

Reference list

Jackson, J. & Nolen, J. (2010). Health Care reform bill summary: a look at what’s in the bill. New York: CBS News Capitol Hill Producers.

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Roehr, B. (2008). Health care in US ranks lowest among developed countries. BMJ 337(1), 885-889.

Thomas, M. & Merrile, S. (2008). The distribution of public spending for Health Care in the United States. Health Affairs 27(5), 349-359.

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