THE HEALTHCARE CRISIS IN THE U.S 6
TheHealthcare Crisis in the United States
TheHealthcare Crisis in the United States
TheUnited States typically spends a lot of money and resources onmanaging healthcare services more than any other nation. In 2012 thetotal estimated costs in healthcare exceeded $2.6 trillion. Moreoversuch medical costs continue increasing each year more than the rateof inflation and exceeding the economy as a whole. This paper willcritically review the main primary causes of healthcare crisis in theUnited States as well as give recommendations that are aimed atalleviating this health crisis.
Oneof the largest factors that is key to increasing healthcare costs isthe use of new drugs and new technology (Mathotra, 2009). Such drugsand technologies may be appropriate or inappropriate althoughwhichever they may be, healthcare costs eventually increases.Fibrinolysis is a treatment for MI that is one major example of anappropriate treatment but costly. Many new popular treatments arecostly but are very ineffective in the long run especially the manytreatments offered to senior citizens who have insurance policies(Lecture 8, 2015). Such treatments offer only marginal advantages ornot beneficial to some patients to whom they may inappropriate.However it has been established that such costs vary significantly indifferent geographical regions and also on practice variations whichare kind of treatments offered by different physicians. Moreovergovernmental and corporate subsidization is attributed to contributeto an increased healthcare use and subsequently to healthcare costsafter the elimination of economic disincentive.
Anotherimportant factor that is responsible for raised healthcare costs isthe high administrative costs. It is important to understand that theamount that is wholly responsible for these administrative costs isestimated to range between 20 to 30 percent of the total healthcarecost (Mathotra, 2009). However the private insurance and theunderwriting and marketing processes are the ones that generate suchcosts that do not entirely improve the entire medical processes. Theact that is responsible for ensuring a universal affordablehealthcare typically limits the amount spent by such health insuranceprivate companies. One major contributing factor to a bloatedhealthcare costs is the concentration of private insurance healthcompanies such as Medicare and Medicaid for the older individuals(Lecture 8, 2015). This is because their concentration makes theunderwriting processes to be complicated, time consuming and henceultimately slow.
Inaddition defensive medicine is attributed to the increase inhealthcare costs in the United States. This is usually a treatment ofa diagnostic test that is free against any form of malpracticelitigations (Mathotra, 2009). This form of medical practice is deemedto be inappropriate because such diagnostic tests as well astreatments might turn out to be unwarranted clinically. One instanceof this malpractice is where a physician decides to hospitalize apatient who they know very well can do well when attended in anoutpatient clinic. Especially for older patients whose health mightsometimes be hard to correctly diagnose and physicians fear to havelitigations against them and take full advantage of their healthinsurance policies (Lecture 8, 2015). Such physicians do this toavoid any form of lawsuits citing malpractice in circumstances wheresuch patients develop severe medical conditions. It is thereforedifficult to measure the actual estimated costs attributed todefensive medicine which is defined subjectively.
Moreoverthe malpractice is a factor that adds healthcare costs bothindirectly and directly too. The malpractices insurance premiums aretypically direct costs that are paid the providers, the physicians,medical drugs together with devices manufacturers and healthcareinstitutions. The premiums usually cover all insurance settlement andcompany overheads including all the profits. These premiums areultimately paid from the health care revenues. Any cases ofmalpractice lawsuits can be detrimental to the physicians as it wouldbe to anybody else (Mathotra, 2009). This is especially true to thosephysicians that work in high risk medical specialties and also highrisk geographical regions. For instance the estimated annualmalpractice total that was recorded and paid by health institutionsand also the physicians in 2008 amounted to $12 billion.
Howeverthere are ways that are available to manage this health crisis toimproving the medical values. This may be achieved by measuring andestimating the costs and the medical outcomes at the patient level(Mathotra, 2009). Such estimates must be estimated in a way that theyare able to encompass the entire medical cycle for patients who havespecific medical conditions. To be able to correctly get suchestimates, there is a great need of variety of specialties fromdifferent physicians who perform diagnostic treatments and medicalinterventions. For instance the costs of a patient diagnosed withdiabetes must include all the costs of endocrinological medical careand also the entire costs of treating and managing the associatedconditions such as renal, retinal and vascular diseases.
Inaddition the most motivation factor in healthcare is the fact thatbetter and improved medical outcomes ultimately bring about lowertotal cycle medical costs (Mathotra, 2009). Hence there is a greatneed for the people in the United States to invest more in earlydetection of diseases as well as the disease diagnostic stages. Thesetwo investments help the individuals in not only elevating physicalsuffering but also avoiding complex and expensive medical costs.There is also a need for the healthcare institutions to reducediagnostic and treatments delays with an aim of reducing medicalcosts by drastically reducing the medical resources required and alsokeeping physical suffering at bay. Health sector is advantaged in thefact that medical costs can be drastically reduced by improving allmedical outcomes. Accurate medical measurement system is thuscritical to unlocking the medical potential with a systematic outcomemeasurement.
MathotraUmang. (2009). Solvingthe American Healthcare Crisis.New York. iUniverse, Inc.
Lecture8, 2015, Lecture 8 TheSocietal Context of Aging: Policies and Programs.Class Notes, 2015 Person Education Inc. 12/09/2015