National Health Care Spending in the U.S.
May 21, 2012
Health care is a vital service that daily touches the lives of millions of Americans through happy, tragic, and vulnerable events. Currently, there is a debate going on in the United States about health care reform bringing up topics of concern such as access, cost, rights, efficiency, quality and value. Even though the United States has rates that cost about twice as much as other industrialized nations for health care, we are still way behind in efficiency and advancements. The World Health Organization (WHO), in 2000, ranked the U.S. health care system as the highest ...view middle of the document...
This only creates more money wasted on administrative duties (collecting and handling necessary insurance-related information, billing) and forces many people to chose other and sometimes more expensive coverage options or go without coverage. (Friedman, 2012). When people cannot afford to go to the doctor (for lack of coverage or lack of money) it forces them to forgo preventive care, early detection of illness/disease, and/or getting the recommended prescriptions and increases the prevalence of emergency room use, hospital stays, costly testing, and chronic illness.
Seeing as how so many Americans do not have coverage and those who do are unsatisfied, the spending is not balanced. The money output is necessary to cover costs, but not put into the right areas. If health care were like an every-day- commodity, reducing the demand would cut costs (rule of supply and demand) but since it is a necessity there is no way to decrease the demand (just prevalence of use). More money needs to be spent on preventative care and medicine. Expenses for people with one chronic condition were twice as great as for those without any chronic condition… Expensive (chronic) conditions contribute to higher health care costs… The most expensive health conditions: heart disease, cancer, trauma, mental disorders, and pulmonary conditions” (Stanton, M.A., 2006, para. What Are the Most Expensive Conditions?). By decreasing the number of incidences of chronic illnesses, visits to the Doctors office, hospitals, emergency rooms, referrals to specialists, and prescription drug necessities we can help cut these costs.
According to "Justice.gov" (2011), “Federal, state, and local governments pay for approximately 45 percent of total U.S. expenditures on health care; private insurance and other private spending account for 40 percent; and consumer out-of pocket spending accounts for the remaining 15 percent.” (Current Health Care Challenges). Over the past decade, the extensive increases in the cost of health care have placed significant stresses on federal, state, business, and private household budgets. Many hospitals today are relying on a mix of charitable donations, third-party payer, managed care plans, and self-payers to cover their costs and meet monetary goals. Patients as well as the above-mentioned entities are having issues getting the hospitals their money due to the recent economic standing, increasing costs of medical supplies and higher charges.
“ The Health and Human Services Department expects that the health share of GDP will continue its historical upward trend, reaching 19.5% of GDP by 2017.” (Keehan, Sisko, & Truffer et al, 2008, para. Abstract). New health care systems should put a more importance on efficiency, cost control, avoidance of over-utilization, and preventative care. The elderly population is increasing as the...