National Health Insurance -- Setback or Solution?
Unless a person has been living under a rock the last few decades, they would be aware the U.S. healthcare system - how it is financed, how it is delivered, and who receives the benefits has been in and out of public consciousness. Why all the attention? According to a policy brief, released by the New America Foundation, “lack of health insurance negatively affects the overall productivity of society, the stability of emergency care, and the health and financial well-being of individuals” ( Carpenter & Axeen, 2008, p. 1). The brief also states that everyone’s cost of care is affected by the uninsured, so therefore to address the cost ...view middle of the document...
The bill recognizes that health care is personal and relationships between patient and provider should not be legislated. Concern exists over indirect limitation of patient choice, however, if providers are unable to remain financially viable. Questions arise, such as do we really need national insurance when people already receive care in emergency rooms? Currently, emergency rooms in hospitals receiving Medicare funding, must treat all patients regardless of ability to pay which increasingly burdens already busy ERs. The cost of providing services to the uninsured ultimately gets shifted and becomes somewhat of a hidden tax on those who are insured (Carpenter & Axeen, 2008, p. 1). Many adults, especially the elderly, hearing reports of ‘death panels’ and lengthy wait times, fear they will be denied care, have to wait longer and will die sooner. With all residents having coverage, there is no denial of medical care and market pressures tend to decrease wait times as patients are less inclined to choose facilities having lengthy wait times.
As one would expect of a proposal attempting to meet extensive challenges, positive and negative aspects can be observed. The following, are a few examples:
(1) The purpose, as stated in H.R. 676, is ‘to provide comprehensive health insurance for all U.S. residents’. This is accomplished thru a simple registration process, which is completing a two page form at a healthcare provider where everyone is ‘presumed’ to be eligible. While the bill does not specifically mention it, provisions would need to be made for anyone unable to travel to a healthcare provider. In addition, although the NHI cards will have a unique number, safeguards will need to be in place to prevent the inappropriate use of the card by someone else.
(2) The comprehensive NHI plan has no out of pocket payments at all. Just about every kind of health care that you need is covered by this policy. Covered services include in-patient, out-patient, primary care, dental, vision, rehab, etc. Extensive coverage, such as this, should encourage individuals to seek preventive care thru primary care physicians earlier, which is expected to lower national healthcare expenditures.
(3) Administrative costs, which account for 30% of healthcare expenditures, will be greatly reduced thru electronic billing and a single-payor system ("Financing single-payor national health insurance: Myths and facts", n.d., p. 1).
(4) NHI will create a monopsony allowing prescription drug costs to be decreased thru negotiation. This feature of NHI will be especially appealing to lower income and elderly individuals.
(1) While providing comprehensive health insurance is the primary goal of NHI, reducing healthcare expenses is vital. Under H.R. 676, each provider will receive, from the regional office, a monthly sum to cover operating expenses under a global budget, which will be...