Health Care Crisis In America

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Health Care Crisis in America July 24, 2011 The government’s latest attempt at fixing America’s health care crisis, The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (ACA), was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Supporters touted the Act as the definitive answer to America’s myriad of health care woes. While the law has yet to be fully implemented, there are already indications that little, if any, improvements have resulted in health care coverage or cost control. In fact, health care coverage is becoming increasingly less adequate and more expensive for consumers. This paper presents a brief study of some of the problems that led to the present health care crisis and offers recommendations as to how to address the issues.…show more content…
Consumer demand for new medical technology that promises to improve quality and length of life is inelastic; consumers are willing to pay any price to obtain such products. Expense for treatment is not a consideration as health care expenses are mainly funded through employer-sponsored group health insurance plans for which the consumer pays little or nothing at all. The Kaiser Foundation reported that 61% of non-elderly Americans in 2006 received insurance through their employers. Compounding the problem is the fact that until recently employees had virtually no financial incentive to reduce health care consumption. There was free, or nearly free, access to any doctor, hospital or specialist to resolve health issues. Consumers had no reason to adopt a healthy lifestyle or take any responsibility for their own health. In an effort to manage health care costs that are increasing 15–60% per year, employers are now shifting a portion of the cost to their employees. Many employers use high deductibles and co-pays or require employees to pay a portion of the health insurance premiums. Other companies, particularly small employers, have eliminated health benefits entirely. Employees’ pay raises have not kept pace with the increased burden of these cost-sharing efforts. Consumers are increasingly postponing or foregoing medical treatment due to lack of sufficient…show more content…
Statistics do not show the US as a stand-out performer in either quality or quantity. A recent study published in Health Affairs states: “the United States often stands out for inefficient care and errors and is an outlier on access/cost barriers.” Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer per the PNHP would save more than $400 billion per year. The PNHP is not alone in their belief. Health Care Now and the recently proposed “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,” H.R. 676 introduce plans to provide health care for all, give consumers the most choices, provide strong health coverage and saves money for government, business and individuals. Unlike the Medicaid program that depends partially on state funds for financing of benefits, national health care would be supported by the full faith and backing of the government. Universal care would cover those now uninsured; however, it is yet to be proven to be cheaper or more effective than our current

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