In the United States of America, health is an interesting topic in the society that not only influences the well being of millions of Americans, but also influences the strength of Americas’ economy. This nation spends more on health care per person than any other nations. America is said to be having the highest infant mortality rates and a relatively low average lifespan. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007)
Sixty nine percent of the American public feels that it is the Federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have health care coverage, but many argue that a single – payer system can solve most of the problems that are currently plaguing the health care system in the country. It is said that a universal health care coverage would have the benefits of reducing the gap in health care coverage and be beneficial to healthcare service providers located in areas with high rates of people who are uninsured, according to the institute of Medicine in America.
With many political issues in which the public has a strong stance, there is a lack of politicians with the needed commitment and understanding of the issue to provide adequate leadership, and these politicians are often uneducated on the issue leading to failure to take a clear stand on the issue of health care. (Ching and McGuire, 2007)
The current major economic issue in the US affecting health sector is getting access to health care because of the increasing costs related to treatment and buying of medicines.
As the population of the United States of America grow many kinds of health disparities exist among minorities in the population, this is because in addition to poverty, substandard housing, poor nutrition, low levels of education, unhealthy environment and their respective beliefs about the medical care, care seeking, behaviors, disparity in patient preferences for treatment and willingness of patients to adopt behaviour recommendations by health personnel such as the use of medication. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007)
The gap between recommended and actual levels of chronic disease care is attributed to medication which costs an estimated $ 100 billion a year in United States leading to thousands of serious adverse deaths and illnesses each month.
Companies provide medical products such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices, whereby the nation spends substantial amount on medical research. The research and development applications is primarily done in research and development labs, while the government and universities fund the majority of basic research, in which much of this basic research is funded or performed by governmental research institutions such as the NIH and the NIMH.
The health care regulations are provided by the government institutions such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention which identifies threats to public health and also the regulatory bodies such as FDA that identifies and approves drugs for medical use and sale. Many health care organizations also voluntarily submit to inspection and certification by the Joint Committee on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO).
The health care industry is the heavily regulated industry in the United States whereby the majority of cost differential arises from medical malpractice, FDA regulations and facilities regulations under this part of the cost arises from the regulatory requirements that prevent technicians without degrees from performing treatment and diagnostic procedures that carry little risk.
Commentators and economists observe that government programs bid up health care prices especially for the private sector because they lack the financial incentives to bargain with health care providers. The health care industry in the US is funded by a special payroll tax under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007)
Health care is important but it is ranked as a second issue for government action. Americans’ top health care concerns are mostly related to economic insecurity, rising costs, and the problems of the uninsured. The biggest perceived health threats are cancer, HIV/AIDS, and avian flu.
Although most Americans do not think that the health system is in crisis, the public remains dissatisfied with both this country’s health care and public health systems this occurs to have been revealed in opinion surveys conducted in 2007. (Fuschs, 2005)
The trend of receiving health care beyond U.S. borders is expected to increase as long as personal spending for health care and insurance premiums escalates beyond the grasp of low- and middle-income Americans. Presently, in some low-wage industries, more workers who are eligible for benefits reject employer-provided health insurance because it is viewed as being unaffordable.
Research shows how the following concepts in relation to the current economic status in America have impacted the health sector.