Indeed, the United States is facing a health care crisis. Notably, the soaring costs of health care services have forced many Americans to spend more on health care than any other area. The question that remains unanswered is whether the current health care crisis is all about rising health care costs or a crisis in health care insurance costs. Yet, others claim that the current health care crisis is only a matter of accessibility to healthcare services and availability of health insurance but not soaring costs. Nevertheless, healthcare costs and social issues are the main issues of intractable immensity surrounding the current health care crisis.
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Currently, healthcare takes 16 percent of America’s GDP making it the biggest economic segment, leave alone its eleven million-employer base. Surprisingly, every American citizen happens to be a stakeholder in this economic sector. Perhaps, this is the reason why health care attracts a vast spectrum of subjectivity and critique, each with divergent opinions that includes biasness. The paper examines the problems that led to the current health care crisis. It is imperative to note that no single person or institution led to the current health care crisis. Every person or institution might have participated in one way or another, which ended up attracting the current health care crisis (Bailey, p.1).
Health Care System
Every American whether a democrat or republican, rich or poor, employed or unemployed agree to have an excellent health care plan. For example, every American needs a secure, proficient, timely, affordable, and high-quality healthcare plan. Additionally, healthcare consumers are looking for experienced and clued-up healthcare service providers who can use lucrative medications, procedures and state-of-art practices to produce positive results at an affordable cost.
Healthcare providers on their part want a healthcare system that gives then the value of their services in order to continue providing services to their customers (consumers). On the same note, employers are demanding a health care system that maintains a healthy and prolific workforce that excludes them from incurring added expenditures on healthcare. Insurers also want a healthcare plan that is within the reach of consumers. With all these descriptions, the system looks excellent.
Current Health Care Crisis
There is a hot debate on who is to blame for the current health care crisis. A section of Americans believes that the government is to blame, while others believe insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies are to blame. The debate has escalated further to a point where Republicans and Democrats blame each other for causing the current healthcare crisis. In order to lay blame on individuals or institutions for causing the current health care crisis, it is vital to examine how the current crisis occurred.
The story of the current healthcare crisis is a circuitous one. For instance, some Americans are wrong in saying that the current state of finance and healthcare reflect the state of economy. If at all the system did as they say, then the 48 million uninsured Americans would not exist. The state of finance puts more pressure on poor Americans who are unable to afford the already risen healthcare costs (The Commonwealth Fund, p. 1).
In fact, this assertion is devoid to the point that it reflects how the American financial system is a fraying hodgepodge. Imagine of an uninsured American involved in a small business, which does not guarantee any healthcare coverage. What will happen when the person gets ill? The person will just die at home for not accessing healthcare services. If we add this problem to another one that involves inpatient care of a person from a family that has huge undiscounted sanatorium bills, then we arrive at a family crisis. Suppose other families are facing similar circumstances, which results is a full-blown healthcare crisis that needs quick attention from all stakeholders. Perhaps, it would be paramount if we examine each institution to see its participation that led to the crisis (Asch, et.al. pp. 1147-1156).
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The fundamental problem with American healthcare, which has brought the current health care crisis, lies in the system’s failure to improve healthcare services characterized by safety, parity and competence as zenith precedence. For instance, between 80, 000 and 250, 000 Americans die each year due physician mistakes such as wrong surgeries and medication, and negative side effects from drugs. To this point, people can blame doctors for offering poor services hence, the current health care crisis.
Doctors are trained professionals who should perform their duties with diligent and professionalism. Additionally, statistics reveals that over 40 percent of physicians have resorted to their own ways of making money by stage-managing insurance reimbursement. They do so by embellishing patients; symptoms aimed at making the patient stay longer in hospitals, and at the same time, they alter diagnoses for the sake of increasing bills.
This has weakened consumer confidence on physicians making many Americans to avoid healthcare services. As Lipthrott notes, doctors are to blame for the current healthcare crisis as they engage in dubious acts that cause more deaths than saving lives. In addition, Lipthrott asserts that the failure of physicians to communicate to patients has weakened the system, leave alone loosing its value. With such an overwhelming carelessness from doctors, patients cannot get value of their premiums. The system allows doctors to build their own moral and ethical fabric of self-centeredness at the expense of consumers (p.1).
Many people blame the rising cost of healthcare services on greedy trial lawyers who charge exorbitantly when carrying out lawsuits relate to healthcare. Through litigation and defensive medicine, private bureaucracies continue to pocket millions of money allocated for healthcare, as huge as US$400 billion per year of the total US$2.1 billion allocate don this sector of the economy. Greedy lawyers have also capitalized on the weakness of the system to extract money from patients in the name of justice. Surprisingly, the common American citizens also take part in the blame by engaging in dubious means such as lawsuit lotteries that have destroyed their own healthcare system.
On the other hand, doctors have questioned the authenticity of lawyers on what they term “malpractice” instead of terming it “maloccurence”. This is because doctors believe they do their work perfectly and that any death that arises is by misfortune. Nevertheless, patients reported many cases of negligence from doctors.
Politicians and Government
One wonders whether the current healthcare crisis is a derivative of a contravention of fiduciary responsibility by fraudulent lawmakers stimulated by corporate greed. The question many Americans ask with no answers is what politicians, both democrats and republicans, played leading to the current health care crisis. The legislature is an institution charged with the responsibility of ensuring sanctity prevails in all sectors of the economy.
Through new legislations, the legislature is able to control menaces committed by individuals and even the government. They failed terribly to institute legislation that will control insurance companies from charging huge sums of money to acquire premiums. The number of uninsured Americans stands at 48 million. On the contrary, greedy insurance companies have leaped the benefits of poor legislation and protection from fraudulent politicians, which amount to US$414 million dollars per year-an increase of 114 percent (Palmisano, pp. 2933-2935).
Research shows that the profit margins of top insurers have doubled even as the world experiences global economic downturn. In an act exhibiting the egotism of these companies, they increased their cost of premiums that saw their revenue collection increase by 21 percent as from 1999. Perhaps this is the reason why the salaries of Chief Executives of top insurance firms increased from $1.6 million to $3 million per annum. Since every American is a stakeholder in the healthcare industry, two factions have arisen. The right-wing comprises of liberals who believe that access to affordable, high-quality and safe healthcare services is a fundamental human right.
These people, mainly drawn from civil society and democrats at large, advocate for single-payer systems that will see the government take part in healthcare provision. On the other hand, conservatives mainly drawn from republic party argue that by providing a universal healthcare system, the government will impose more taxes on taxpayers already burdened by the global economic downturn. These conservatives do not understand that the current healthcare crisis came because of few individuals who took over the responsibility of controlling the lives of all Americans. Imagine of a situation where insurance companies spend millions of their money to fund lobby groups and some politicians to defend their financial interests (Bailey, p.1).
Legislation from politicians saw physicians confine themselves to the Oath of Hippocrates in order to safeguard the interests of patients. This was the best of ensuring patients get quality services. However, the managed care and HMO legislations reinstated carelessness at work and instead, provided an avenue of enriching corporations. The reason why managed care networks failed to work effectively is that government bureaucrats protected some insurance companies from paying taxes and further, excused such cartels from following antitrust laws. This benefited them until they reached the level of deity; controlling everything in healthcare, right from cost to accessibility to affordability.
Furthermore, the act of giving insurance companies the right to fix hospital bills, reimbursements, doctors’ salaries, remunerations and insurance premiums completed monopolized the entire healthcare system, later leading to its downfall. With this legislation and protection, insurance companies determine who will live and who will die. In other words, the entire healthcare costs and benefits including salaries, insurance companies implied that only the employed and the rich could afford healthcare services. Critically, this compromised the quality of healthcare services as doctors would insurance company that pays high salaries. In addition, the amount of money one pays as premiums determined the quality of service. Meaning, poor and average Americans could not afford complicated medical practices like surgery (Wynia, Cummins, and Wilson, pp. 1858-1865).
The main reason why the price of insurance premiums has risen is poor malpractices assumed by many insurance companies. For example, as from 1990, these insurance companies fixed low liability on their products without realizing the competition ahead. Massive changes in the stock markets returns, price increase in commodities, high interest rates, and competition among insurers have prompted the skyrocketing of the price of premiums.
Thus, the poor Americans cannot afford such highly priced premiums hence, leaving them uninsured. Nevertheless, the signing into law of Healthy Americans Act by President Obama will see many Americans all Americans access high quality, affordable and efficient healthcare services. It is now up to every American to take personal responsibility and ensure principled health joint venture for accessible, affordable and timely healthcare services.
Asch, Stephen, McGlynn, Elizabeth, Kerr, Eve, Adams, John, and Keesy, Joan. Who Is at Greatest Risk for Receiving Poor-Quality Health Care? New England Journal of Medicine, 354(11), 2006, 1147-1156.
Bailey, Dan. The Crisis in Healthcare Cost in the United States–An Actuary’s Perspective. The Actuary Magazine. 2010. Web.
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Lipthrott, Dawn. Who is to blame for the healthcare crisis? 2005. Web.
Palmisano, D’Aniello. Health care in crisis. Circulation, 109, 2004, 2933–2935.
The Commonwealth Fund. New National Scorecard: U.S. Health Care System Gets Poor Scores on Quality, Access, Efficiency, and Equity. 2006. Web.
Wynia, Matthew, Cummins, Deborah, and Wilson, Ira. (2000). Physician Manipulation of Reimbursement Rules for Patients. Journal of American Medical Association, 283, 2000, 1858-1865.