Health Care Policy Essay Paper

Mixed system of private and public responsibility for health care has introduced in the United States. Moreover, the big amount of Americans pays some portion of their medical bills through insurance obtained at work. Talking about people we can say that nearly about five out of six American workers are covered by group health insurance plans, they paid for either jointly by the employer and employee or by the employee alone. If we will think about this we can see that the employee pays a monthly premium or fee under the most common type of plan. As we know, the insurance company pays a percentage of the employee’s medical costs above a small amount known as a deductible. Insurance plans are very changeable. Some of them include different coverage, for example, coverage for dental work and others for mental health counseling and therapy; others do not.

Analyzing another type of health care we can noticed that this health care plan available to many workers is the health maintenance organization (HMO). There are several pluses in this variant, but one minus is here too. Among pluses we can note that HMO is consists of a group of physicians who provide all of a person’s medical care for a set fee paid in advance. HMOs pay attention on preventive care because the HMO must pay the bill when a person needs services that the HMO cannot provide, such as specialized treatment, surgery, or hospitalization. As for me, preventive care is the big part of our health, and sometimes we forget about this. Due to this care HMOs have grown in popularity among the people. But as I said above there is one minus in this system. Some Americans are worry about their choice; it means that in this system they are limited to choose a doctor. Every person want to has the best doctor and people are afraid that they are can be deprived this possibility.

Reassessing the need for hospitalization has helped to American physicians to increase in costs. But this situation forced to look more attentively at this problem and made some changes. Among them we can talk about “out-patient” basis. It means that surgical procedures which once involved staying in a hospital, for example, are now performed on an “out-patient” basis (the patient comes to the hospital for part of the day and returns home at night). It helps to spend less money for the treatment and now even when a hospital stay is prescribed, it is typically shorter than in the past.

There are several ways of insurance in America. Nowadays most Americans have some form of private health insurance, but there are people who cannot afford insurance. In 1965 were established two social programs through which they can get medical coverage. Poor people need treatment too and Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that funds medical care for the poor. The requirements for receiving Medicaid have determined rules and are very widely changeable from state to state. We know that Medicaid is the nation’s largest social-welfare program. Medicare has difference from other programs and we see that it is another form of federal health insurance, pays a large part of the medical bills incurred by Americans who are 65 and older or who are disabled, regardless of age. Medicare is financed from several sources. These sources are: portion of the Social Security tax, premiums paid by recipients, and federal funds. Moreover, everyone who receives Social Security payments is covered by Medicare.

All people have a right to be healthy, but there are one category of people who also need preventive care and special treatment. To great regret the most troubling health care problems in the United States has been providing care for those who cannot afford health insurance and who are not eligible for either Medicaid or Medicare. Sociological studies show that one in seven Americans is without health insurance at least part of the year. Among these people we can see persons who are unemployed or have jobs without medical coverage or who live just above the poverty line. Of course, all these people can go to public hospitals, where they will get treatment in an emergency, but that is not enough for them. If you want to be healthy and have less problems in your future you should take care of yourself and pay your attention on different ways which can help to prevent illness. According to all these important moments of health care system and after widespread debate and discussion in 1996 Congress passed legislation designed to make health insurance more available to working families and their children. The new law had good sides and made the access to health insurance more open for people. For instance, it can be workers who lose their jobs or who apply for insurance with a pre-existing medical condition.

Nowadays United States are faced to a lot of problems connected with the health care system and health care debates regularly have a place in government circles. There are two main political forces in United States now (Republicans and Democrats) and both of them have their own point of view on this health care problem. The main topics of such hot debates are the ways how to improve health care system and to regulate the level of health care payment. Also politicians cannot leave without attention the problem connected with the level of health insurance and its fast rising process.

Returning to federal programs we can mention that they include such variants:

Ӣ Medicare, generally covering citizens and long-term residents 65 years and older.
Ӣ Medicaid, generally covering low income people in certain categories, including children, pregnant women, and the disabled (Administered by the states.)
”¢ State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance for low-income children who do not qualify for Medicaid. (Administered by the states, with matching state funds.)
Ӣ Various programs for federal employees, including TRICARE for military personnel (for use in civilian facilities)
Ӣ The Veterans Administration, which provides care to veterans, their families, and survivors through medical centers and clinics.

The information above was taken from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Medicare and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Medicaid. This paragraph shows us that there are several health care programs and all of them have their own aims and direction.

As we know government play a big role in health care market. Many healthcare programs help to provide for the children, military service families and veterans, elderly, disabled and the poor people an ability to have access to health care system. But for a great regret a system of universal health care has not be proclaimed nation-wide.

Stopped on health care payment we see such information which were published in “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007.” U.S. Census Bureau. Issued August 2008: “around 84.7% of citizens have some form of health insurance; either through their employer or the employer of their spouse or parent (59.3%), purchased individually (8.9%), or provided by government programs (27.8%; there is some overlap in these figures). All government health care programs have restricted eligibility, and there is no national system of health insurance which guarantees that all citizens have access to health care. Americans without health insurance coverage at some time during 2007 totaled about 15.3% of the population, or 45.7 million people”. As we can see from this information situation is not the best and need certain motion which can change it.

Should every person in the U.S. have Health Insurance regardless of their income or wealth? This question is not an easily to answer, because it has different aspects which should be looked at before the finding right decision. We know that opponents of government programs argue that people should be free to choose their system of health insurance. People are sure that there is no base to such a big rising health insurance costs.

As I wrote government have a big influence on this problem and should solve it in the nearest future. Let’s stop at this aspect and discuss it more detailed. Barack Obama tried to solve this problem in different ways. This information was found in official internet source:

“Barack Obama will make health insurance affordable and accessible to all:
Ӣ The Obama-Biden plan provides affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, builds on the existing healthcare system, and uses existing providers, doctors and plans to implement the plan.

Obama will lower health care costs:
Ӣ The Obama plan will lower health care costs by $2,500 for a typical family by investing in health information technology, prevention and care coordination.

Promote public health:
”¢ Obama and Biden will require coverage of preventive services, including cancer screenings, and will increase state and local preparedness for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.”

This is a plan for healthy America and it was also called Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Plan.

Analyzing the healthcare and health insurance situation we see that there are many problems in these areas and the health care reform is important. Two extremes are often offered to American people in health care system. They are: letting the insurance companies operate without rules or government-run health care with higher taxes.

Nowadays US health insurance costs rise faster than wages. What is the reason of such rising? We know that health insurance premiums for workers are rising around three times faster than their wages, and health costs eat up a quarter of earnings for more than 14 million Americans, according to last government reports. People complain that while benefits are being cut, health insurance premiums are rising
“Working families were squeezed by runaway health care costs over the past four years,” said Families USA executive director Ron Pollack.

He also noticed: “As a result, workers are paying much more in premiums but are receiving less health coverage, wages are being depressed; and millions of people have lost health coverage entirely.” According to Census Bureau statistics more than 60 percent of Americans get their health insurance through an employer. The cost of health insurance premiums rose from year to year and this process should be regulated.

Returning to plan for a healthy America I have read that American government has came to a conclusion that both of written above extremes are wrong, and that’s why they’ve proposed a plan that strengthens employer coverage, makes insurance companies accountable and ensures patient choice of doctor and care without government interference.

Before we begin discussed a plan for healthy America we should answer one more question which help us to understand process more deeply. This question is: Why does health insurance cost so much?

We have read newspapers and articles and found in them the specific factors driving the cost of healthcare.

Let’s enumerate them and understand that these specific factors include: general inflation, advances in drugs and other medical devices, rising hospital and doctor expenses, government mandates, increased consumer demand, litigation, fraud, and cost shifting.

We have the most easily variant for solving this problem, but if it is easy does it mean that it is right? A simple way to decrease money spent on healthcare is to reduce the demand for healthcare and it will help to solve a problem. As you see it is very simple solution and it need a little amount of efforts. Let’s do it and all will be alright, but”¦. Please think a little and imagine that we do all that were enumerated above.

Does it mean that people will become healthier and need no medical help? Of course not, because people are not robots and we cannot turn off illness and become healthy. Statistics says that up to 40% of all healthcare related expenses result from preventable conditions. At the same time all these preventable conditions are caused by lifestyle choices such as tobacco, obesity, stress, lack of exercise and poor diet.

That’s a pity but we are never going to be able to totally change all lifestyle related healthcare costs. That’s why we cannot to solve the healthcare problem in such a simple way.

Talking about government plan we can mention that the Obama-Biden plan provides affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, builds on the existing health care system, and uses existing providers, doctors and plans to implement the plan. Due to this plan, patients will be able to make health care decisions with their doctors, instead of being blocked by insurance company bureaucrats. And it will be good advantage for people to accept this proposition. I think that the biggest advantage is that under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year. But it can be such a variant that you don’t have health insurance and you can solve this situation rather fast. For example, if you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options.

This plan has a big future and as were said at the official government internet source: it help to find out the exit from the healthcare situation.

Such words were written there and if we will think about them it becomes understandable that they have big sense. Let’s read them together:

“Make Health Insurance Work for People and Businesses – Not Just Insurance and Drug Companies.
Ӣ Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.
Ӣ Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees.
Ӣ Lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees.
Ӣ Prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for their malpractice insurance and invest in proven strategies to reduce preventable medical errors.
Ӣ Make employer contributions fairer by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees health care.
Ӣ Establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
”¢ Ensure everyone who needs it will receive a tax credit for their premiums.”

At the end of this work I want to say that the Obama-Biden plan will promote public health. People of America should be healthy and they should have a possibility to be treated by good specialists in time. There should not be important have people money or not, but nowadays it is little bit unreal words. Now only health insurance can help to improve situation and active political actions in this direction will be necessary and have a great meaning for the future of American nation.

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