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The United States health care system is on the verge of falling down. The publicly funded health benefits such as the Medicaid and Medicare are proposed to be altered because these health benefits are eating a lot of the national budget.

Due to the economic crisis felt worldwide, everything has increased in costs and this primarily includes health-related benefits. Medicine has become so costly that purchasing the right drug for a certain ailment is becoming a challenge.

In addition, the cost for treatment has also increased rapidly. New technology and improvements in the field of science have produced better but more expensive treatments.

Developments in different fields have also caused the rise of new diseases which needs to be cured. The more diseases and ailments there are, the greater is the need for more treatment and drugs.

There are also some diseases which are not covered by the system because they are relatively new or because the treatment for it is so costly that funding for it would mean economic suicide.

Another cause for the expensive health care in the United States is that not all citizens are insured or are adequately insured. Many of those who are not insured or are underinsured ignore their illnesses and seek only medical attention if worse has come to worst.

By the time the patient seeks medical attention, the treatment needed will already be more complicated and expensive because the illness has also evolved. Ideally, illnesses should be treated at the initial level to avoid costly medications or treatments and burden on the government (University of Maine 4).

With all the rising costs, it is feared that the United States health care system will not be able to finance all these needs. In fact, this problem is already starting to materialize. In the Congress, there are already debates on the health care system.

There are those who want it replaced so that it can cope up with the times and the government will not reach bankruptcy just because of it. There are also others who want to retain the system and just derive the funds from other sources.

Whatever position these Congressmen take does not actually matter unless they start realizing what they are saying and present a concrete plan on how to improve the system or fund the system.

The United States, among industrialized nations, holds the record of being the highest spender when it comes to providing health benefits to its citizens, splurging twice the per capita average.

However, despite this high spending, the Americans are not receiving better health. This may be because there is disparity in the way the health benefits are being received by the citizens (Gerencher n.pag).

Health care benefits are dependent on the kind of insurance an individual has, race, income and ethnicity. More than one third of the American populace have no insurance or are underinsured. The diversity and the gaps in insurance packages as well as the high out of the pocket spending cause many patients to forgo treatment and medical tests (Gauthier n.pag.).

The insurance packages are crucial in the determination of the treatment that should be rendered to the patient. Some packages offer very limited choices, thus, the patient cannot enjoy the treatment that he really needs (Parenti n.pag).

The variance in the insurance package can be attributed to the fact that the system of health care is not centralized. There is a multi-tiered system.

The big business companies are controlling the health care system and through this process, the main goal is not actually to deliver a good quality of health care service but to gain profit. The heath care system has become a profit making venture more than a health saving venture.

Among the other problems of the healthcare system is the issue on safety and quality. Based on record, there are 98,000 who die annually due to medical errors and only 55 percent of the American adults receive the health care recommended.

Inefficiencies are also prevalent in US hospitals thereby duplicating services or if not rendering unnecessary services. These wastefulness also compromise a big chunk of the health care funds (Gauthier n.pag.).

With all these problems at hand, there is a need to re-design the health care system. The focus should be shifted from gaining profits to rendering good health service. This can be done by centralizing the health care system or designating only a single body which will handle all the payments for the billings in hospitals and doctors. Health entities will direct all the payment for the services they rendered to a single entity.

The system will significantly reduce the administrative costs for health care. A lessened cost for administrative costs would mean the payment for the health service will be lesser and the concentration will not be on paying employees who will process the package but to treatment that the patient will receive.

The single system package will allow patients to enjoy high quality medical care. Doctors and hospitals will no longer have the option of denying a certain treatment to a patient due to the insurance package that he enrolled in.

This system will be most beneficial to the patients since they need not forgo the treatment that they need. In addition to the single payment system, the Medicare should also be extended to those citizens who cannot afford to good kind of health insurance because their jobs are not permanent or are odd paying. This will help in minimizing the number of people who are underinsured or are uninsured.

However, despite the promise that the system brings to patients, this system will also be detrimental to the other players in the health care system. The doctors and insurance companies might experience lower income.

Doctors who specialize in a certain field will be mandated to render to the patient the care that he actually needs instead of what his insurance package indicates. In the present health care system, clinical decisions are dependent on the insurance policy of the patient and this should not be the case because this might compromise the health of the patient (Physicians for National Health Program n.pag).

Private insurance companies and administrative personnel of hospitals who are in charge of the health care policies will also be eliminated. There is no need for them anymore because the centralized government entity will take care of all health care concerns.

This new proposal will solve the rising costs for health care services and the disparity in the services that are being rendered to patients. The reduced administrative costs will be a big help to those patients who barely have enough to pay for their health needs.

However, since the system is new and has not been tested yet, it cannot be said that it would not cause any trouble. There might be problems that will be experienced along the way but as what are these problems is still unknown.

It would be best if the redesigning of the health care system would be fashioned in such a way that the medical providers and hospitals are actually included in the planning because they are the ones who know specifically the needs of the patients and the treatments that are required for a specific medical situation.

References

Gauthier, A. and Serber, M. (3 October 2005). A Need to Transform the US Health Care System:

Improving Access, Quality and Efficiency. Retrieved 30 August 2008 from  <http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=302833>

Grencher, K. (31 July 2008). Americans down on the US health-care system. Retrieved 30 August 2008 from <http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/americans-rate-us-health-care-system/story.aspx?guid={86F29D04-FC2D-466F-ADF6-2435468CE406}>

Parenti, S. (November 2006). Re-Designing the US Health Care System: Think Universally, Design Locally. Retrieved 30 August 2008 from <www.patchadams.org/hospital_project/positions.pdf>

“The US Health Care System: Best in the World, or Just the Most Expensive?” (n.d.). University of Maine. Retrieved 30 August 2008 from <dll.umaine.edu/ble/U.S.%20HCweb.pdf> “What is Single Payer?” (n.d.) Physicians for a National Health Program. Retrieved 30 August 2008 from  <http://www.pnhp.org/facts/what_is_single_payer.php>

 

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