Erica: United States health care is a costly thing. All around the world people have different health care coverage available to them. Universal health care is a common thing. The United States is starting to adopt a form of universal health care, but is different from other countries in that their health care is free. In the article, vital signs: health insurance coverage in the United States, states that people without health insurance continues to rise and is more expensive than ever. Why is it that coverage is so costly? What can be done to allow the United States to have free health care without decreasing the access to care and the quality of care?
Alexa: The Affordable Care Act is a very costly initiative that the United States is taking to better the country’s health care. Making this switch seems like it would happen with ease and that everybody would benefit from it, but there are some major drawbacks to U.S. citizens for the beginning of this switch to the Universal Healthcare. The first question: Where is this free health care coming from and who is paying for it? This video that explains the reform more simply, Health Care Reform HD, explains that people on the government will be crediting insurance companies so that they can cover more people. But the money has to be coming from somewhere; Our tax payers are going to be help funding these insurance companies so that more people can pay for more insurance.
Brooke: There are many ways that America could improve its health care system to better benefit citizens, but yet we are still considered an outlier when it comes to health care and the costs. The United States is less productive than the average OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) country, and we must consider the factors as to why. Health care and lifestyle play a huge role in why America is being left behind. I feel like our health care system is entirely for the governments benefit, and many people think our health care is not only more expensive, but less effective. As if having the most expensive health care was not bad enough, we are also the unhealthiest country. Authors; O’Rourke and Lammarino state, “The U.S.A spends more on health care services than most industrial countries in dollars and percent of GDP while having the least access of care of any of the other 29 countries.” I think this is a very powerful statement that should make any American who pays for health care, uncomfortable. Without the access to health care people are less likely to be in control of their health because they are lacking the resources as well as the education.
Erica: I would agree with Brooke that the health care system is behind and at times does act as if it is purely focused on governmental benefits and not the people. Health care is becoming more and more expensive making it nearly impossible for all people to have care. I feel that other countries can have free health care because the costs are minimized. Health services and doctors more than likely make and cost less which in turn can be managed by tax money. I think this is honestly the only way health care in the United States can be “universal” and free to all Americans’. The cost of care and the salaries of health care professionals need to be cut in order for care to even begin to become affordable.
Alexa: I see that this is probably the only way for Americans to be able to have universal healthcare, but when the cost of care is being cut and the salaries of the health care professionals are going to be cut, in my opinion we lose quality. If I were go to medical school and spent all the time needed to become a physician, I would want to be getting the salary I was promised while I was spending most of my young adulthood and twenties working towards. When those well-trained physicians aren’t able to receive the same kind of salary they have been working towards, or are used to, they’re going to look for that better salary elsewhere, which will probably not be in United States anymore. So while we are cutting the cost of health care and making it available to others, we will be losing quality and losing the physicians that we need in order to provide that care.
Brooke: The prime goal for universal health care is to make it available to everyone; therefore more people will be going to the doctor, more frequently. Since health care is so expensive in America, less people choose to go because they cannot afford it and they then just try to self-medicate themselves. In countries that have the benefit of universal health care, physicians are actually granted a bonus when they have healthy patients. Their job as physicians is to help educate and medicate their patients, when needed, so that they can obtain the optimal health status. Yes, salary is important, but it is not the main focus of the job. I think that because our health care costs are so high, physicians are not always able to give their patients the best treatments that are available, because that patient may not be able to afford it.
Erica: I see both perspectives. I definitely think that if salaries are lowered for nurses, doctors, surgeons, etc., that people will quit going to college for these salaries. Growing up people always say go to school where there is money, or in the medical field for job security. If we take away the high salaries, as Alexa said people will quit going to school and quit caring about the care they provide to their patients. Quality of care is just as important. If the care is free but is poor care, does it really help that it is free? Doctors and nurses, I would hope would be willing to take a slight pay cut if it meant everyone could have care, however I don’t feel that most physicians and nurses are in the field because they truly care about the patient, it’s about the money. I will graduate in July with a health science degree which means I will be a health educator and will work to educate patients on newly diagnosed conditions and helping to change behaviors. I would be perfectly fine with taking a pay cut if it meant universal care would be readily available. I also feel as if I am compassionate enough with wanting to help people that my care and assistance would not decrease.
Alexa: Regretfully, I do agree with Erica that most people are in the field mostly because of the big paycheck. In this Forbes article though, it discusses how if this country wants to be able to make health care more affordable, we need more choices to have so there will be more competition to lower prices. It explains of a “no-sue” form of insurance that could maybe be an option for people looking for cheap health care. What this means is that the physicians who were treating the patients with the “no-sue” insurance wouldn’t have to be paying malpractice insurance on them. As it says in the article though, this kind of thing could be unconstitutional; forfeiting the right to a lawsuit. I just think that might be an interesting incentive for physicians in this new Health Care reform so that they wouldn’t be losing so much of their salaries.
Brooke: In a perfect world we would want to believe that our physicians do care about us, but both Erica and Alexa are in the right by saying it is usually about the money. I think it is safe to say that America is wasting money by not developing a cheaper health care system. According to this article Waste in the U.S. Health Care System: A Conceptual Framework, “Waste is caused by factors such as health insurance and medical uncertainties that encourage the production of inefficient and low-value services.” Health care costs now account for 16% of the country’s gross domestic product and per capita spending is twice that of other major countries. I don’t think that by developing a more beneficial health care system would physicians be losing money, they lose money by not having a sufficient amount of patients who can pay for their services. This is why 45.7 million Americans have no health insurance, because our immense spending makes health care and insurance increasingly unaffordable (Bentley, Effros, Palar, and Keeler). With our health care system so set in its ways, the current and looming health care-spending obligations are preventing the government from achieving universal insurance coverage or other national goals.
Erica: Alexa brings up a topic I never thought of. I found the information in the Forbes article to be very interesting. I don’t know how safe a “no-sue” insurance would and how good of care individuals would receive. If you take away the malpractice insurance and tell people they can’t sue, this means a tragic accident could take place and no lawsuit can be put into place for any reason because the physician would have no insurance and with a no sue policy, people wouldn’t in my opinion feel safe, which therefore may lead to a lack of use in health care services. I found the article extremely informative and interesting. It brought up a thought process I have never had before. I feel overall though that a no sue policy and not having a malpractice insurance would indeed cut costs, but be a risky situation to put themselves in along with a lack of care use from the patients.
Alexa: Putting the Affordable Healthcare Act aside, I just find it fascinating that we spend so much money on healthcare when most of the healthcare Americans receive is for a preventable disease. Obesity alone counts for over 12 percent of the health spending growth in the recent years in America. The United States wastes so many resources and so much on time on issues like this that could be resolved by just leading a healthier life. It would be interesting to see how much healthcare costs would dwindle if (some) Americans had the capability of taking care of themselves properly.
Brooke: It is true that if America were simply healthier, so much money would not have to go into more medical procedures dealing with our main problem; obesity. With universal health care in place, no one would go into debt from health care, which is a huge problem in the U.S. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes health as a human right. We are entitled to our health care, and we should not have to spend an arm and a leg just to see the doctor. As mentioned before, if more people could afford to go to the doctor, they would be healthier because they would be equipped with the knowledge of what leading a healthy lifestyle, entails.
America has done a consistent job of implementing different health care programs to benefit pretty much everyone, but there are still so many people who are negatively affected by these programs because they are costly. Even those who obtain stable health care with their career, or through a company, still end up paying large amounts either up front at the office or months after a treatment of some sort. People continue to live with the unsettling thought of not knowing what they would do if something life threatening would happen. We as people should feel as though we can put our trust within our health care system and not only that, our country. The government should take more initiative to better benefit our country as a whole and not just those who can afford it. With universal health care, those who are not able to pay for the health care they deserve will not slip through the cracks and be forgotten about.
Erica: Health care is ridiculously expensive. The connection between health services and the health of people in a way correlate. If people have a health issue but can’t afford care, the condition may not be able to be controlled. Likewise if an individual doesn’t have health insurance they may not even know they have a health problem. I think health insurance is a key to being able to afford health insurance in today’s society in the United States.
Alexa: The Swiss government has one of the world’s best healthcare systems in the world. Many experts like to compare our Universal Healthcare system to that of the Swiss. Writers have praised Obamacare for being “a plan to Swissify America,” saying that using a Swiss style of healthcare would be a great improvement on the system we have now in our country. While others point out obvious flaws in their programs that Americans would find troubling. Swiss Healthcare expenditures are the third highest in the world, behind the U.S. and Norway. I find it interesting that people brag on Swiss healthcare so much, and imply that American healthcare should be the same. They don’t take into account how much money they spend on healthcare as well, which is exactly what Americans complain about with the new healthcare system the U.S. has in place.
Erica: I think overall that the United States health care has come a long way, but still has a lot of room for improvement to make it easier to be used by all people in the United States. Per person, the United States spends $8000 per person on health care. This is insane. The United States spends trillions of dollars on health care every year but yet individuals still have to pay a lot in insurance costs and in return don’t always get good quality care.
Brooke: The incentive to change health care needs to be put into action not only to benefit those who do not have health care or those who pay too much, but also to help make it cheaper for the retired population. High health care costs are taking away from their retirement funds, which is sometimes their only means of living. There are many things that can be implemented to improve our health care and also to helps the costs decline, but it is not solely the consumers’ responsibility. According to an AARP bulletin, the responsibility lies with the providers, payers, and policymakers. Also, in that same bulletin a couple of things that could be introduced to help move forward are expanding payment innovations, promoting greater care coordination, measures to lower drug costs, providing consumers with better information on cost and quality, and helping make the health care programs more efficient and less wasteful. These are some simple things that can be done to make gradual, sufficient changes in our health care.
Alexa: All in all, Health Care in the United States is a costly matter. The idea that American lawmakers have of a healthcare plan like those of Switzerland and other Westernized countries is a great first step towards Universal Healthcare in the United States. As discussed above though, I feel as though the plan that they have come up with thus far has some major drawbacks that do not appeal to or benefit many Americans. I feel as though for the Universal Healthcare plan to function properly for our country, lawmakers will have to revisit the plan and modify it to make it work for our citizens in the best way that it can.