What is it that makes Americans overly enthusiastic about reforms to health care? The statements such as “don’t touch my Medicare” or “everyone should have access to state of the art health care irrespective of cost” are, to me, ignorant and arousing responses that show an insufficient comprehension of our health system’s past, present and future resources as well as the financial challenges America is facing in the coming years.
As we look around, we are all wondering if the health system is reaching what some call an “episode of crisis. Let’s remove some of the anger from the discussion by examining briefly the process by which the health care system in our country was born and how it has changed our perceptions and beliefs regarding health care. With that in mind, we can look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Obama health care reforms. Let’s also examine the ideas that are being proposed by Republicans?
Access to the latest healthcare facilities is something we believe is beneficial for this nation. The experience of suffering from the effects of a serious illness is among of the most difficult challenges in life and facing it without the resources to cover the cost is truly terrifying. However, as we will learn, when we are aware of the facts, we’ll discover that the process of achieving this goal won’t be straightforward without our own contribution. For health care in Israel לבריאות all the modern facilities are available with cutting edge advanced testing techniques.
These are the topics I’ll explore in an attempt to make sense of what’s going on with American health healthcare and the ways we can each take to improve the situation.
A brief review of American health care: what is the reason for the cost to be to be so high? Some of the key components that are part of Obama health care plan Republican vision of health care: free market competition . Universal access to the latest health care – an admirable objective, but it’s not easy to attain.
In the beginning, let’s take an understanding of the history behind American medical care. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive review of the history, but it can give us an understanding of how our health system and our expectations of it developed. What factors drove costs to be higher and higher?
Let’s begin by turning towards our first topic, the American Civil War. In the war, outdated strategies and the destruction caused by modern weaponry from the time produce horrific results. Unknown to many is that the majority of deaths of both sides were not due to the actual battle, but instead of what transpired after the infliction of a battlefield injury.
At first, the removal of the wounded was done at a snail’s speed and caused significant delays in the treatment of the injured. Additionally, numerous wounded were treated with treatment for wounds, surgeries related to them or amputations of the affected limbs, which often led to the onset of massive infections.
In other words, you could be able to be able to recover from a wound, but then die in the hands of medical personnel who, despite being very well-intentioned, their decisions were usually fatal. The high death tolls could also be blamed on everyday illnesses and ailments in a time where antibiotics were not available. Around 600,000 deaths were attributed to all reasons, more than 2percent in all of the U.S. population at the time!
We’ll skip the beginning in the early 20th century to gain an additional perspective and bring us to more recent times. Following the Civil War there was a steady improvement in American medical practice, both in the knowledge and treatment of certain ailments, the development of innovative surgical techniques, and medical education and training.
For the most part, the only thing doctors could provide their patients was the “wait and see” approach. The medical profession could treat bone fractures and even perform risky surgery (now mostly carried out in clean surgical areas) however, medicines weren’t yet developed to deal with severe illnesses.
The majority of deaths were due to untreatable illnesses like pneumonia, tuberculosis scarlet fever, measles or related complications. Doctors were becoming more aware of heart and vascular diseases and cancer, yet they didn’t have the resources to treat these diseases.
This brief overview of American medical history will help us understand that up until the very recent (around around 1950’s) there were no technology to treat major or minor illnesses. This is an important issue to be aware of; “nothing to treat you with” means that doctor visits or even a visit to the doctor were restricted to emergencies, and in the event of such an incident, costs were cut down. The fact is there was not much medical care available to doctors and thus almost nothing to stimulate the cost of health care.
Another reason for the low costs was that the medical treatment that were given were paid out of pocket that is, through the individual’s own resources. There was no health insurance, and certainly not health insurance that was paid from an employer. With the exception of those who managed to get their way to a charitable hospital, health costs were the sole responsibility of the patient.
What does health insurance do to health expenses? The impact of health insurance on costs is until today, huge. When health insurance plans for individuals and families became an option for companies to avoid wage freezes and to retain and attract employees following World War II, almost instantly, an enormous amount of cash was made available to cover health insurance.
The money, consequence of the access to billions of dollars of medical insurance companies, helped an ingenuous America to boost research into medical conditions. More Americans were insured, not just through private, employer-sponsored health insurance, but also through the increase in federal funding, which led to the creation of Medicare in 1965 and Medicaid (1965).
Additionally, funding was made available to expand veterans’ health benefits. Finding a cure for nearly everything has been extremely profitable. This is also the main reason behind the huge variety of treatments available to us today.
I don’t want to say that medical breakthroughs aren’t beneficial. Consider the tens of millions of lives saved, extended, improved and improved due to medical innovations. However, with a source of funding increasing to its current magnitude (hundreds in billions per year) increasing pressures on the cost of health care is bound to increase.
Doctor’s offers and the majority of us require and receive access to the latest medical technology, which includes medical devices, pharmaceuticals surgical instruments and diagnostic tools. This means that we have more health care that we can invest our money in and up until a few years ago, most of us were covered and the cost was largely covered by a third party (government and employers). Add in an endless and unsustainable need for health care access to and treatments and you have an “perfect storm” for higher and more expensive health care expenses. The situation is only getting worse.
Let’s now look at the most important questions that will guide us to a thorough review and hopefully a greater understanding of the health reforms that are in the news today. Are the current trends in U.S. health care spending long-term sustainable? Are we able to help America keep its global competitiveness in a time when 16%, which accounts for 20 percent of our national gross production, is being devoted to health care? What are other industrialized nations investing in health services, and is it even in line with the same amount? If we include the political climate and elections year into the discussion the information needed to determine these questions becomes vital.
It is essential to put time understanding health care and debating the way we view it. Armed with the right information, we can more wisely assess whether certain proposals in health care could be able to solve or even worsen these issues. What can we do about the issues? What can we do to help to solve the problems?
The Obama health plan for healthcare is complicated for certain, but I’ve never witnessed a health care plan that wasn’t. However, through a range of initiatives, his plan aims to tackle one of two issues:) increasing the percentage of American who are covered by sufficient coverage (almost 50 million people aren’t) as well as) managing costs in as to ensure that quality and access to health care are not harmed. Republicans attempt to accomplish the same broad and basic objectives, however their strategy is said to be more market-oriented than the government’s. Let’s take a look at what the Obama strategy does to achieve these two goals.
Keep in mind, of course his plan was approved by Congress, and will begin to take effect the year 2014. That’s the direction we’re currently following in our efforts to overhaul health care.
Through the use of insurance exchanges as well as the expansion of Medicaid, the Obama plan drastically increases the amount of Americans who are insured through health insurance.
To help pay for the expansion, the plan requires everyone to be covered by health insurance. There is a cost to be paid in the event that we fail to comply.It is believed that it will provide money to states to pay for those who are added to states-based Medicaid programs.
To pay for the additional costs there were several tax changes to cover the additional costs. One of them is the 2.5 percent tax on the development of medical technology. Another tax increase in taxes on dividends and interest income for the most wealthy Americans.
Obama’s Obama plan also incorporates concepts like evidence-based medicine accountable care organizations research on comparative effectiveness and reduced reimbursements to health care suppliers (doctors or hospitals) to reduce costs.
The insurance mandate outlined in the points one and two above an admirable aim and the majority of industrialized countries that are not part of the U.S. provide “free” (paid for through relatively high corporate and individual taxes) health insurance to the majority but not all their citizens.
It is crucial to remember that there are plenty of limitations for which the majority of Americans might not be prepared. This is the most controversial element that is part of the Obama plan: the insurance requirement.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently made a decision to hear arguments pertaining to the legality for the mandate to purchase health insurance in response to the petition of 26 states attorneys general alleging which claimed that the congress had overstepped its power pursuant to the commerce clause in the U.S. constitution by passing the health insurance mandate.
The issue is that if it is decided that the Supreme Court should rule against the mandate, it’s generally accepted to be a sign that the Obama plan in its current form is likely to fail. This is because the primary purpose of providing health insurance coverage to everyone would be severely restricted should it not be completely halted with a similar decision.
You can imagine that the tax rates mentioned in 3 above are disregarded by the organizations and people who have to pay these taxes. Pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies doctors, hospitals, hospitals and insurance companies have all needed the option to “give up” something that will either generate additional revenues or reduce costs within their respective spheres of control. In one instance, Stryker Corporation, a large medical device firm recently announced at minimum 1,000 employees being cut to pay for the new costs. This is also happening with other medical device companies as well as pharmaceutical companies too.
The decline in high-paying jobs in these industries as well as in the hospital industry could increase as the old cost structures have to be redesigned to meet the lower rate of reimbursement for hospitals. In the next 10 years, certain estimates place the cost reductions for doctors and hospitals at half a trillion dollars . it will be passed directly onto and impact companies who supply hospitals and physicians with the most modern medical technology.
All of this is not to suggest that efficiencies are not achievable through the changes or that additional jobs will not be created, but this could cause pain for a time. It aids us in understanding that reforms to health care will impact us both positively as well as negative.
The Obama plan is aimed at changing the way that medical decision-making is taken. While basic and clinical research are the foundation of nearly everything that is done in modern medicine doctors are also creatures of habit, just like us, and their education and daily experiences influence to a significant extent the way they approach diagnosing and treating the conditions we suffer.
The concept of evidence-based medical practice and the concept of comparative effectiveness. Both seek to create and use databases of information using electronic health records and other sources to provide better and more accurate information and the physicians with feedback on the effects and cost of the treatment they offer. There is a lot of healthcare waste currently, which is estimated to be around one-third of the over 2 trillion dollars of health care expenditure annually. Imagine the savings likely to be realized by reducing unnecessary tests and procedures which do not perform as well with treatments for health which are more documented as efficient.
However, the Republicans and many others don’t appreciate these notions as they usually describe the idea in terms of “big government control” of your health care and mine.
To be fair regardless of political beliefs, most people who are knowledgeable about the concept of health care are aware that more accurate data to meet the needs mentioned above are crucial in ensuring that health care efficiency and patient safety as well as costs moving in the proper direction.
A brief overview of what Republicans and other conservatives consider health reform.
I think they’d believe that health care costs should be brought under control and that more than fewer Americans are entitled to health insurance regardless of their financial ability to pay.
The main difference is that they believe that competition and market forces as the best way to achieve the cost reductions and efficiency that we require. There are numerous strategies to create greater competition between health insurance providers and health healthcare service providers (doctors as well as hospitals) to ensure that consumers could begin to bring costs down through our choices.
This is true for many areas of our economy however this model has proven that the benefits are not real in the context of health healthcare. Most of the issue is that the choices for health care are a challenge even for those who are aware and connected. The general public is, however, not as well-informed and we were all taught to “go to the doctor” whenever we believe it’s required and also we have a culture which has given a lot of us the notion that healthcare is something that can be found everywhere and that there is no reason to not access it, regardless of the reason and, even more importantly, we feel that there’s no way to influence the costs of it to ensure its accessibility to people with serious issues.
This article was not meant to be an exhaustive research since I wanted to be brief in order to keep my readers’ attention and allow for discussion on how we can help solve certain issues. It is important to realize that the funds available for healthcare are not unlimited. Any changes made to provide more insurance coverage and better access to health care will incur more costs.
We must generate the money needed to cover these costs. While we need to reduce the cost of procedures and treatments for medical conditions and limit the use of unproven or undocumented treatments since we are the most expensive healthcare service in the world. And we aren’t always the most effective outcomes in terms of longevity or stopping chronic diseases early than is needed.
I believe that we must make an overhaul in how we view the health system, its accessibility and cost, and who will pay for it. If you think I’m going to suggest we need to arbitrarily and dramatically cut down on the amount we spend on health care, you’d be mistaken. It’s my our fellow citizens – the cost of health care must be protected and preserved to those who are in need. To free this money, those who don’t require it or who can delay or even avoid it must take action. We must first convince our elected officials that this country requires ongoing public education regarding the importance of health prevention strategies. This should be the top priority and has been a major factor in helping decrease the amount of U.S. smokers for example. If prevention could be a reality, it’s reasonable to expect that the number of people seeking health care for the multitude of lifestyle caused chronic illnesses would drop drastically.
Millions of Americans suffer from these illnesses much earlier than they did in the in the past, and a large portion of this result from poor lifestyle habits. This alone could make it possible to save a lot of money to pay for the health expenses for those who are in urgent need of treatment, be it due to an crisis or a chronic illness.
Let’s explore the first question. The majority of us aren’t willing to to implement simple wellness techniques to our everyday lives. We do not exercise, yet we give a variety of excuses. We don’t eat well, but we make a lot of excuses. We smoke, or drink excessively and we provide a variety of excuses for how we cannot do something about these to be harmful behaviors. We do not take benefit of the preventive health screenings which look at the levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and body weight, but we make a lot of excuses. In the end, we ignore these aspects and the outcome is that we fall victim earlier than is necessary to chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart issues as well as high blood pressure.
We are prone to seeing medical professionals for other routine issues due to the fact that “health care is there” and we believe that we don’t have any responsibility to reduce our dependence on it.
It’s difficult to hear these facts but it is easy to blame those who are sick. Perhaps they need to take better treatment of themselves! Perhaps that’s the case or perhaps they suffer from an illness that is genetic and they are among the unfortunate due to through no fault of their own. However, the reality is that both of us are able to implement individual preventive actions to drastically improving access to healthcare to others, while also reducing cost. It is much more efficient to be productive taking control of something rather than shifting blame to others.
There are an abundance of web sites for free which can help us live an improved health-conscious lifestyle. As soon as you are able to, “Google” “preventive health care strategies” and then visit the website of your local hospital and you’ll get plenty of information to start. In the end, there’s a plenty to think about and I’ve tried to present the problems but also the effective impact we could achieve in preserving the best aspects of America’s health system today and in the near future. I’m eager to hear from you. Until then be proactive and improve your odds of being healthy and ensure that you have access to health care whenever we require it.