Previously, the US Government had poor control over the health of the people and the healthcare industry, as this was regulated through similar means of other industries (competition between various parties which controlled prices and competition).
However, in recent times, the cost of healthcare had risen to unaffordable levels and a huge chunk of the population was left without health insurance. The Obama Government in March 2010 has passed the National Healthcare Bill that would provide comprehensive health insurance to a huge chunk of the uninsured, bring about greater government control and lower the costs of healthcare to more sustainable levels.
This Bill would mean that the government would have greater control of the healthcare industry. About 95% of the US population would be covered by this bill (Associated Press, 2010).
Earlier, the US government had poor control of healthcare, and hence there was greater emphasis on competition and a litigious practice environment which created several problems in the US. The costs of healthcare rose to an uncontrolled extent without any improvement in the quality of outcome.
There were several resources which were wasted in the healthcare system and a lot of insurance frauds were involved. Physicians rather than effectively managing risks and providing preventive care, were performing surgeries and administering drugs to treat adverse effects of disease rather than preventing disease itself.
The whole practice outcome had changed to one that offers greater profits to hospitals, healthcare providers, insurance companies and drug companies. Patients who suffered even trivial damages filed legal suites against their healthcare providers and the providers had to pay millions of dollars for even minor errors.
In this way, the system of clinical practice was such that healthcare professional engaged in defensive practice, performing unnecessary tests, and taking up unnecessary insurance schemes (that were not only costly but not sufficient). New technology when introduced into healthcare was unaffordable for the patients (Edwin Mora, 2009).
According to Steven Berger, by shielding the healthcare industry from the market forces excessive and unhealthy competition in a criteria area would be prevented. There are several units in the healthcare industry which work for the non-profit cause and a greater role of the government would ensure that the interests of the non-profit organizations would be protected.
Consumers of healthcare may often find it difficult to obtain information about costs and competition. This could result in unhealthy price rise and intense competition which could be negative for the health of the people. Most of the decisions regarding the purchase of the procedures are made by the physician rather than the patient.
Having the government’s hand in such a situation would ensure greater protection of the patient’s interest. There are also a lot of public funds that go into the healthcare industry and hence having the active participation of the government would ensure efficient and effective use of these valuable public resources (Steven Berger, 1977).
Associated Press. Obama to sign health bill, take it on the road, 2010, Associated Press. 6 April 2010. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35982527/ns/politics-health_care_reform/
Edwin Mora. Obama Wants Total Government Control Over Health Care, Says Conservative Leader Phyllis Schlafly, 2009, CNS News. 6 April 2010. http://www.cnsnews.com/Public/Content/Article.aspx?rsrcid=52369
Stephen Berger. The Interplay of State and Local Government in Healthcare, The Academy of Political Science. http://www.jstor.org/pss/1173421