America’s Medical System is Broken: Can it Be Saved and at What Cost?
It is not an undisclosed reality that the health care system of the United States of America is the most expensive in the world. The American government spends almost two times as much per individual as compared to other advanced nation-states for achieving better health outcomes. However, they are neither better nor satisfactory and are much poorer in some cases. In addition to this, the residents of other developed countries (particularly Canadians and British) who are consistently loathed by rivals of “socialized” medicines communicate that they are greatly satisfied with their health care systems when compared to the citizens of America who are not.
The health care system in the United States is an area under much polarizing discussion. The supporters of it claim that it is undoubtedly the best medical system in the world. They support their claim by pointing towards the free medical technologies and facilities that are the cornerstones of the system. On the other hand, the ones who are against this system berate it by considering it as being disjointed, incompetent and useless. Their criticism is based on the fact that despite spending billions of dollars on it, the system is itself ill due to considerable un-insurance, potholed excellence, and organizational waste. Thus, the organization of medical services in the United States, have been tremendously influenced by wars, embryonic fiscal relations, demographic alterations, and a mixture of burdens and demands from public and political movements (Heirich 1).
However, though the system is broken, yet I believe it can be changed if the strategy of give and take is implemented with both the government and people. It is unquestionable that affordable healthcare is not a privilege but a right of every human being. However, it is important for people too to work for it if they are capable enough.
The Health Care System in United States is Unsuccessful
Evidently, the America’s health care system is weakening and worsening day by day. Extreme medical charges, second-rate class and quality, and unbalanced availability of facilities have added up to this devastating condition. All in all, the political leaders have also been unsuccessful in addressing the mentioned issues. However, lately they have been able to show little indication about their understanding regarding their linkage with the issue. Moreover, they have also become capable enough to show that the medical system has impacted the American economy in a very bad way (Nichols 2).
The actual per capita medical cost growth has surpassed national GDP growth by 2.6% annually since 1960. The health insurance has become increasingly high-priced not only for the American families but for the employers too who find it unaffordable. This is the main cause why the number of individuals with health insurance coverage has declined so sharply (Nichols 2). The last decade has seen a twofold rise in the medical costs. Moreover, health insurance premiums have also elevated almost 5 times faster than remunerations. Astonishingly, the American citizens are extremely spending money on health care than the inhabitants of any other developed country. However, they are receiving care that is of poor quality on the whole (Clemmitt). When the Bush administration was in office, the consumers were encouraged “to switch to consumer-directed health plans, whose high copayments would force them to shop for more cost-effective care” (Clemmitt). However, this proposal was rejected on the grounds that individuals cannot do much to control costs.
In a nutshell, attempts and endeavors for controlling medical expenses have not been successful on a large scale. For instance, during the 1990s, the doctors and hospitals were successfully pressurized by managed-care insurance plans to reduce prices and restrict certain services. However, the expenditures began to elevate again after a hostile response from the public. Thus, a majority of economists and policymakers have made a clean breast that they cannot come up with any new and reasonable ideas for decreasing health spending. Nonetheless, the United States would have no option other than slamming the brakes on mounting health costs if it wants to make the health care affordable in next few decades (Clemmitt).
Another cause of the failure of American health care system is that it provides mediocre medical quality at a very costly price. It is not a secret that the United States of America has got world’s best clinicians and health facilities in the world. It also has a far better short-term survival rates as compared to other industrialized countries when it comes to some definite delicate conditions. However, it still attains outcomes of inferior quality despite the entire mentioned plus points. The World Health Organization has ranked the United States at the 37th position in overall health system performance. Being a super power, it is an astonishing fact that America nestles in this ranking link between Slovenia and Costa Rica, which have a considerably lower per capita income than the U.S. (Clemmitt).
The American citizens obtain proper and apt care in their doctors’ offices no more than fifty five percent of the time. On the other hand, the Americans whose incomes are high acquire just a little bit improved care facilities. To cut a long story short, The Americans pay a lot for comparatively small (Nichols 4).
What to Do?
The time has now come to rethink what path we shall take in order to improve health care in America, and how we might decide so. A majority of Americans agree that changes are desirable. However, the pains and labors to develop, reorganize and adjust health care “as a whole have washed ashore, drowning in the whirlpools and eddies of special interest politics” (Heirich 1). In the meantime, the efforts by the public and private sectors have been successful in introducing more limited reforms, but on a very limited scale. In short, American health care is undergoing a catastrophe and it needs major changes in order to make health services more inexpensive and more accessible to large fragments of the society that have been left out of the system (Heirich 1).
In 2010, President Obama presented a Health Care Reform and his administration made the most of, synchronized and supported private for-profit health insurers financially to achieve universal health coverage. The industry also supported it and seeing its support, both houses of Congress were competent enough to triumph over Republican resistance and disagreement and thus, passed health care reform bills. It is expected that “the new reforms will extend health care coverage to millions of uninsured people while lowering costs for everybody” (“Health Care Reform”). Supporters of the new health reform bill claim that this reform is an incredible achievement that will bring long-term benefits to the American citizens (“Health Care Reform”).
As far as the new health reform is concerned, I think it is a good step taken by the government. As a supporter of universal health care system, however, I think that the American government is supposed to pursue the direction of other developed nations and establish a national health care system. The current commercial system has now failed. By introducing universal insurance, the medical costs would become affordable and more efficient. According to the health care reformers too, universal coverage is now the only method to make certain that every American citizen receives evenhanded and unbiased health treatment, not considering his/her income bracket. It is a good sign that state governments like Oregon, California and Vermont are attempting to pass universal health care bills (“Universal Health Care”).
I think that the eventual intention and goal of all the current proposals to improve the medical system in America must be “to extend insurance coverage to all Americans and begin reining in rampant cost growth that threatens to price health care out of the reach of all but the wealthiest” (Clemmitt).
The peers of United States of America have set such standards of health care that it has failed to meet. As already mentioned, the American medical system delivers imperfect and second-rate patient care, leaves millions of American citizens uninsured, and has threatened the economic and societal foundations due to its rising costs. Without a comprehensive, system-wide reform, it would be impossible for the American government and people to improve this failing system of health care. If the situation persists, the Americans will keep on wasting billions of dollars and thousands of precious lives annually in a health care system that is challenged with inadequacy and disorganization.
These deficiencies must be corrected by intensification and escalation of coverage in order to create enhanced incentives for excellence and effectiveness. America needs a system that links health insurance to individuals. It needs a system that should be channeled by the philosophy of individual responsibility towards one’s own health. It needs a system that is based on shared responsibility to make certain that the physical well-being and welfare of all American citizens, including the most susceptible ones, are met. We are living at a point of time where there is a need to reallocate the task for providing health insurance from the employer to the employee. This would made American companies free enough to give attention to the development and competitiveness with no worries regarding the mounting health care costs. It would make health. We need an insurance system that is obligatory for all the citizens of the United States and one which would be offering munificent financial assistance and large risk pools to lend a hand to the poor. A medical system with an approach to health care delivery and emphasis on prevention, early diagnosis, and evidence-based treatments is the need of the time. We must free ourselves from a system that is too costly and guided by “known-to-be ineffective diagnostic and treatment techniques” (Nichols 1).
To cut a long story short, America is in need of a medical care system that encourages the extensive implementation of information technology in order to lessen the costs of administration and facilitating the clinicians and patients to work together towards sustainability. If immediate steps are not taken, the rising health care costs will put the American citizens’ health at risk. Moreover, the prevailing problems will chip away the competitiveness of America on an international level. Thus, the existing crisis of our health care system must be seen as an opportunity for us to reorganize its fundamental doctrines and recover its general performance. We must fashion a health care system appropriate to the needs of 21st century American citizens.
Clemmitt, M. “Health-Care Reform: Is Universal Coverage Too Expensive?” CQ Researcher. 19.29 (2009): n. page. Web. 12 Jun. 2012. .
Clemmitt, M. “Rising Health Cost: Can Costs Be Cut Without Hurting Care Quality?” CQ Researcher. 16.13 (2006): n. page. Web. 12 Jun. 2012. .
“Health Care Reform.” Issues and Controversies. (2010): n. page. Web. 12 Jun. 2012. .
Heirich, Max. Rethinking Health Care: Innovation and Change in America. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998. Questia. Web. 12 June 2012. .
Nichols, L.M. “A Sustainable Health System for All Americans.” New America Foundation. (2007): 1-22. Web. 12 Jun. 2012. .
“Universal Health Care.” Issues and Controversies. (2005): n. page. Web. 12 Jun. 2012. .
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