Posted: August 12th, 2013
U.S. Health Care System
U.S. Health Care System
The health care system in America is made up of a panel of different organizations, but a large part of the system is owned and administered by the private sector. Conversely, the health insurance is mainly supplied by the government. The main stakeholders include TRICARE, Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. America’s budgetary allocation on healthcare is also one of the highest after Monaco, Luxembourg, and Norway. While the U.S. spends a considerable amount of money on individual health care, the amount is much more than the maximum spent in other developed countries such as France and the United Kingdom.
However, the large expenditure did not congruently translate into improved health care provision for Americans. In the U.S., there were fewer physicians per person as compared to other developed countries. Similarly, America had about two per 1000 for the population as of 2010 that was lower than the average 3.4 beds standard set by OECD (Kane & McCartney, 2012). Lastly, the U.S. population also has a lower life expectancy than many other countries in the world. While these statistics are dependent on other variables, they are and indication of the failure of the healthcare system in America despite the bloated health budget.
However, the U.S. leads the world in research and development of terminal diseases such as cancer and AIDS. The search for a health care system produces new products regularly, but very few have shown signs of achieving the same quality of healthcare at lower costs. Health correspondent Betty Bowser commented that the U.S. health care system could benefit from adopting a system that improved performance, lowered cost and was based on a vehicle assembly line model. This model argued that if waste were eliminated from the healthcare system, the outcome would be a better health situation and lower medical expenditure. The Virginia Mason Medical Center situated in Seattle provided a trial system that was based on this model with significant success (Kane & McCartney, 2012).
While America struggles to increase their health care expenditure, other countries have embarked on approaches to lower healthcare costs. Countries such as France and Japan use a similar fee standard so that health institutions, practitioners and health service providers are compensated similar tariffs for the patients they attend. The American healthcare reward system is dependent on the type of insurance that a patient is subscribed. The system responded by selecting the type of patients with generous policy packages that means they get a higher payment as compared to patients having lower-paying insurance companies, for example, Medicare (Greene, 2009).
Japan and France have also adopted a hands-on approach towards regulating their health care system, to make it both affordable and profitable by adjusting the costs and prices accordingly. In France, the CNMATS is responsible for monitoring the public spending and controlling it when necessary. In America, the payment rates for health services are statutory and have to be changed by Congress making the whole system inflexible and extravagant. Lastly, in America, there are few techniques of controlling the price fluctuations in the private sector. The private sector has an option to either passing the costs to consumers in the form of higher insurance premiums or asking health care providers to cover the costs (Kane & McCartney, 2012).
America has partially failed in the task of ensuring all citizens have access to quality affordable healthcare. The superiority and freedom that the private sector has been allowed in the national health care system is also partly to blame in that they focus chiefly on profit maximization before attempting to address the provision of quality health care (Jacobs et al, 2009). A factor that prevents the U.S. from achieving this goal includes their failure to effectively embrace and integrate ICT in the administration of health care.
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