Healthcare reform has been one of the most widely discussed topics before and after the Congress passed the Health Care Reform Bill. The gradual progress towards reforming the nation’s healthcare system has enlisted a heated debate from various stakeholders.
Some quarters are even suggesting the possibility of hidden motives behind the drive to wholly overhaul the American healthcare system. On my part, I am not satisfied with the American health system as it is before the new bill; I think reforms in the health system have been long overdue.
The present healthcare system has many serious shortcomings. First of all, access to healthcare has been recognized as a human right. The debate about healthcare reform in the country has mainly been centered on access to health services, sustainability, cost and quality of managed healthcare.
Looking at the facts, the United States has the most expensive healthcare system in the world. The percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on healthcare in America is the highest in the world (Mechanic, 2006). America is leading in pharmacological biotechnological research and development.
Despite this massive investment in the health sector, America is the only developed nation without a universal healthcare system. In addition to this, the US lags other developed nations in human health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and maternal mortality. These factor indicate that the current health system is not only costly but also wasteful and ineffective, hence the need for reform.
The current payment system in the current healthcare system is based on profitability. To maximize profits, doctors are forced to see as many patients as is possible, reducing the time allocated for each patient. Consequently, the probability of making an error while diagnosing, recommending treatment and prescribing drugs increases significantly (Mechanic, 2006).
Health services have become too superficial and acquaintanceship between doctors and patients has become almost non-existent. Issues of patient safety therefore arise since familiarity with a patient’s medical history is an essential factor in determining the most effective solution to his or her health problems.
Most of these shortcomings in the Unites States healthcare system are the motivation behind efforts to reform the system. The new bill therefore offers hope that a more effective and efficient system for the provision of health services to all citizens of America is in the offing.
It includes the best ideas generated from across the board and crates a system in which health services are affordable, health insurers are put under check and all American citizens have access to health. With the health system sustainable, family, state and federal budgets will stabilize, leading to a stronger economy.
In the past, hospitals and insurers have had archaic and mysterious methods of determining the cost of health services. Insurance companies have had some leeway in the determination of healthcare costs as exhibited in their excessive profits.
High costs of health insurance policies have subsequently left over 47 million people uncovered. The new bill provides the largest tax cuts for healthcare in middle class families in American history.
Insurance premium costs will be reduced for millions of low income families and small business owners; it will thus make insurance more affordable and will enable over an estimated 33 million Americans who are currently uncovered finally have health insurance. After full implementation, over 95 percent of all American citizens will have health insurance.
In the past, insurance companies and hospital complexes have had lobbyists in government, significantly influencing health policy (Mechanic, 2006). The Health Care Reform Bill puts gives consumers of health services more in charge of their healthcare budget and this will definitely lower the cost of health insurance.
The regulatory measures defined in the new bill include price transparency and patient access to pricing mechanisms. These will create a competitive health insurance market and many more American citizens will have the same choice of health insurance as members of Congress and the wealthy. Regulations to streamline the health insurance industry have been long overdue.
Insurance companies have been running the show; determining what compensation doctors are to be given for their service and what health procedures patients are entitled to with minimal external pressure.
To prevent these abuses to patients and denial of vital services, the new bill has provisions to enforce accountability; it lays down guidelines regarding the cost of premiums and enacts policies which bar insurance companies from discriminating against citizens with pre-existing health conditions (Mechanic, 2006).
In conclusion, the government has the responsibility of ensuring that its citizens have access to quality of health services at a price they can afford. Continuous escalation of healthcare services has seen middle income Americans spend up to 40 percent of their paychecks on health; and the services delivered are still wanting.
High cost of healthcare puts a lot of pressure on families and budgets, eventually destabilizing the national economy (Mechanic, 2006). American citizens have been spending more money on healthcare than they do on food and housing. Healthcare reform has therefore been long overdue, and the United States as a nation should seize this opportunity to achieve universal health coverage and improve the quality of life for all.
Mechanic, D. (2006). The Truth about Health Care: Why Reform Is Not Working in America.
Rutgers University Press.