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Tort Reform Essay

5008 words - 21 pages


Unit Three Written Assignments

Erin Schmidt

Professor Vega

St. Joseph’s College of Maine

Prepared on November 30, 2009

1. Of all the people using the health care system today, how important are social problems on the use of the health care system?

Social problems including AIDS, drug abuse, violence, and teen pregnancy are very important when considering the economy of the United States Health Care System.

Unprotected sexual contact and sharing dirty needles account for the majority of persons infected with AIDS. HIV and AIDS affect human ...view middle of the document...

Another concern is that many women who are abused have a greater tendency to be re-victimized, leading to proliferation of the cycle of violence and more emergency room visits.

“Teen pregnancy serves as a proxy variable for maternal behavior and attitudes about pregnancy” (Pamuk and Mosher, 1988, p. 52). Teenage mothers are less likely to obtain necessary prenatal care and more likely to smoke cigarettes. Both of these factors lead to increased infant mortality and low birth weight infants. Babies born below optimal birth weight typically stay in a neonatal intensive care unit that can cost over $1000 dollars per day depending on the care needed. Though NICU departments are vastly important in hospitals, certain babies can be a huge drain on the economic solvency of the hospital, and the health care system as a whole.

2. With increased life expectancies, improved medical technology, and higher overall medical care spending, how can economics contribute to the discussion concerning the treatment of critically ill elderly patients? What are the economic issues of prolonging life?

As the aging population grows, so will the demand for healthcare. However, fewer people will be in the workforce to supply medical services as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement. With individuals living longer, there will be greater need for long-term care services and means to adequately finance these services. Those individuals that cannot afford long-term care may need to rely on family members to provide care. Adult children of elderly individuals may find themselves taking time off work to deal with the demands of caring for their parent. Shellenbarger (1995) noted that the annual costs of elder care were roughly $3000 per person per year and this accounted mainly for lost productivity, work interruptions, and the cost to replace a worker. Considering this figure was well over a decade ago, one can reasonable assume that the costs have gone up considerably.

In addition, Medicaid spending has increased over the years to keep up with the increase in long-term care costs for the indigent population. This is also a drain on the economy and has contributed to many debates regarding health care reform needs.

As the baby boomer generation grows older, so will the population over age 85 years, known as the oldest-old. Medicines and technological advancements have contributed to the increase in life expectancy, but this age demographic will experience chronic illness that are a natural, physiologic consequence of aging.

Henderson (2002) notes that “one of every seven dollars spent on medical care every year is for treatment during the last six months of someone’s life” (p. 344). The economic issue here, and one that is at the center of political debate, is that this form of health care spending is not justified in a strict economic sense. Prolonging an inevitable death will not lead to an increase in productivity or that individual returning...

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