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The following essay will discuss the issue of health care for middle-class Americans.  The subject of the essay then will follow how health care is being supplemented in America and how Americans are being treated in an unfair capacity.

The essay will present certain facts and figures based of race when dealing with healthcare to allow for a discussion of how Americans are being treated in this profession.  Also, a range of the concept of middle-class American will be brought to the context of the paper such as age, and race within this dynamic and the different aspects of each in regards to health care.

As the problems for middle-class Americans and health care arise avenues and choices for the future in health care will be presented so that the prospects of the future of healthcare can be known.

The position of the paper will be one that follows the thesis of health care being a large problem for middle-class Americans and this hypothesis will be based largely on the idea of money and the inequality provided because of lack of money.

Health Care Spending
Unlike all other major nations of the world, the United States does not have universal health care, the health care it does have is over priced, and by many accounts, ineffective.

There are several issues which need to be addressed in order remedy the poor status of American health care. Among the key issues are; the current laws regarding the development and pricing of medication, the lack of access of a large section of Americans to quality and necessary health care, the lack of federally subsidized treatment options and the high price placed on health care in general.

Another major problem regarding health care in the United States is that, while our nation spends more actual dollars on health care, the American public as a whole is less healthy than those nations which spend only a fraction of that amount.

One example of this is seen in the comparison of the United States with the life expectancy of Japan. While Japan spends an average of about $2000 per person, per year, they see a life expectancy of more than eighty one years. In the year 2000, the United States spent, on average, more than $4500 per person per year, yet only sees an average life expectancy of seventy seven years.

This same survey reveals that Cuba, the nation which spent the least amount of money on national health care has an overall life expectancy almost equal to that of the Untied States. In fact, the majority of nations surveyed, all of which spend substantially less than the United States, have substantially higher overall health conditions. (University of California)

This disparity illustrates the problem that faces the United States health care system – as well as one of the more popular misconceptions about the cause of its inadequacy. As a nation, the United States spends almost 50% more per person per year than its closest competitor, yet many Americans feel that not enough is spent.

In 2004, the cost of American health care rose 7.9% – more than three times the rate of inflation. (NCHC) This brought the total annual cost of American health care to 1.9 trillion tax dollars. This amounts to nearly $6300 per person per year in 2004. The cost of health care has consistently increased each year; however the quality of health care has not seen the same increase.

Insurance & Race
“Despite a modest two-year decline during the boom years of the late 1990s, the number of Americans without health insurance has been steadily increasing. Today nearly 40 million Americans–roughly 14% of the population–have no health insurance coverage” (Young “Surmounting the Cost Barrier” 20).

The lack of insured coverage creates another problem in the United States health care system. Evidence shows that the morality rates for the uninsured in hospital care are worse than that of the insured. (Cutler 32) While the cost per individual increases outside of the ability of the uninsured to pay, they are increasingly forced to carry their burden without or with little aid.

Tthe lowest infant mortality race on the chart for 2002 is that of the Asian population.  Overall, they have the lowest number compared to Latinos, Blacks, or Whites.  Also, Asians have the least number of people below the poverty line.

There is a definite schematic to these numbers and mortality rating.  One could conjecture that poverty leads to infant mortality.  This should not automatically make one consider that because a person is poor their child will die, but rather that money leads to a better educated person, which leads to being knowledgeable about how to proceed with birth, as well as proper infant care at home once the child and mother are released from the hospital (Budrys 2003).

It must be stated that money leads to better education and women who attend or have matriculated at a college are less likely to become mothers, or when they do become mothers, they are introducing a child into a well maintained home where there are two incomes, and possibly health insurance.

Advances in health care in America have significantly lessened infant mortality, but this is still a large problem on a global scale.  The leading nations for infant mortality are Bulgaria (36,000) and Romania (37,000) (in 2002) (Maugh).  Although America has a striking number at 28,000 a researcher must also question how many infant mortality rates are correlated with poverty.

In the issue of race the study done by Satcher et al.  In this study Satcher, emphasizes that even among the race gap of mortality between Whites and Blacks, the standardized mortality ratios for African American women as compared to African American males is far less.

The significance of this study in relation to race is that African Americans are almost always under the poverty line and have little access to Medicaid or Medicare.  Also, infant mortality rates among African Americans are much higher than any other race (disregarding the statistics on Bulgaria and Romania and only focusing on Americans) (Satcher 2006).

Although healthcare in general has seen an improvement in recent years among the African American population, there are still major steps that need to be seen to counteract the high standardized mortality rates that Satcher presents in his article.

Cost Care of the Patient

In Wilson et al.’s study of patient care for ill and HIV children the stats for financing reflects a tremendous burden, “..in-home care for ill children (ranging from approximately $19,000 to $36000) is higher than that of hiring caregivers for healthy children (approximately $10,000)” (2005).

This burden is further emphasized for the family if they are not equipped to pay a professional care-giver and are dependent upon themselves for such care; this issue raises the other issues of job attendance (some families pass up promotions, decline extra working hours, or quit their jobs entirely in order to care for the ill which makes the financial burden that much more potent).

Further in Wilson et al.’s study they reveal the numbers involved in American care-giver homes, “It is estimated that 10% to 18% of US children (6 to 10.8 million children) are chronically ill.  According to our cost estimates, the total value of care ranges from $155 to $279 billion per year” (2005).

In an at home environment the dangers of lack of funds arise and the emotional stress on family members and spending time with each other (either children, wife, or husband) and the noncompliance from other family members in putting the patient/loved-one in a home can be daunting.

Abstract

This paper will deal with several issues of health care in the United States.  The problems with health care will be directed as cost of health care for the patient of middle class American but the poverty line will also be a factor.

Other issues will include health insurance, the cost of this to the middle class American, the lack of insurance and the reasons why children are suffering health problems because of lack of insurance.  The issue of race will briefly be discussed as an issue that involves health care risks for certain races and reasons behind this problem.

The cost of healthcare will be the major focus of the essay in aspects of the cost of healthcare in different fiscal years and the lack of cost benefits for workers.  The future of health care will also be examined through the Children’s Health Insurance Program and its detrimental effects of the state of health insurance for children.

Work Cited

Budrys, Grace et al. “Unequal Health”.  Rowman and Littlefield. 2003

Cutler, David M. “The Cost and Financing of Health Care”. The American Economic Review.Vol. 85, No. 2. May 1995. p. 32     37.

“Facts on Health Care Costs”. National Coalition on Health Care.  2006. Date of Access: September 9, 2007. URL:      http://www.nchc.org/facts/2006%20Fact%20Sheets/Cost%20  %202006.pdf

“Health Care Spending”. University of California, Santa Cruz. 2006. Date of Access: September 9, 2007. URL:     http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/spend.php

Holloway, A.  “Opportunities for PSOs: an interview with Albert     Holloway”.  Healthcare Financial Management: Journal Of The     Healthcare Financial Management Association. Vol. 52 (2),    pp. 75-7.  February 1998.

Jenkins, J & T. Faulkner.  “The State of Children’s Health   Insurance Program.”  Journal of the American Academy Nurse    Practitioners.  Vol. 14 (10), pp. 438-42.  October 2002.

King, K.M. & PM Koop.  “The Influence Of the Cardiac Surgery Patient’s Sex and Age on Care     Giving”.  Social Science and Medicine.  Vol.48 Issue 12, pp1735-42. 4 June 1999.

Maugh, Thomas H.  “8 Americas.”  Chicago Tribune.  12 September     2006.

Runy LA.  “The Cost of Hospital Care”. Hospitals and Health  Networks. Vol. 29, Issue 12  pg32. December 2005.

Sager, Alan; Deborah Socolar. “Lower U.S. Prescription Drug  Prices are Vital to Both Patients  and Drug Makers”. Boston    University School of Public Health. July 23, 2003.

Sanders, Stacy, J.  “Shouldering the Burden Of Care”.  Hastings     Center Report. Vol. 35, Issue 5, p14. October 2005.

Satcher, David et al. “What If We Were Equal?  A Comparison of    the Black White Mortality Gap 1960 and 2000.”   Trends.     Vol. 24, No. 2.   2006.

Welchman, Jennifer & Glenn G. Griener.  “Patient Advocacy and     Professional Associations: Individual And Collective     Responsibilities”.  Nursing Ethics.  Vol.12, Issue 13,  pp296-304. December 2005.

Wilson, Leslie S.  et al. “The Economic Burden Of Home Care for     Children with HIV and Other Chronic Illnesses.”  American     Journal of Public Health.  Vol. 95, Issue 8, p1445-52.  August 2005.

Young, D.  “Surmounting the Cost Barrier: To Help the Uninsured,  the Government Must Cut Mandates, Subsidize Private Plans.” Modern Healthcare.  Vol. 32, No. 25.  pp20. June 2002.

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