What Seems To Be The Problem? A discussion of the current problems in the U.S. healthcare system.
The U.S. healthcare system is very complex in structure hence it can be appraised with diverse perspectives. From one viewpoint it is described as the most unparalleled health care system in the world, what with the cutting-edge medical technology, the high quality human resources, and the constantly-modernized facilities that are symbolic of the system. This is in addition to the proliferation of innovations aimed at increasing life expectancy and enhancing the quality of life as well as diagnostic and treatment options. At the other extreme are the fair criticisms of the system as being fragmented, inefficient and costly. What are the problems with the U.S. healthcare system? These are the questions this opinion paper tries to propound.
The U.S. expends far more on healthcare than any other country in the world, yet we get fewer benefits, less than ideal health outcomes, and a lot of dissatisfaction manifested by unequal access, the significant numbers of uninsured and underinsured Americans, uneven quality, and unconstrained wastes. The financing of healthcare is also complicated, as there is no single payer system and payment schemes vary across payors and providers.
National health systems are assessed by the extent to which expenditure and actions in public health and medical care contributes to the crucial social goals of improving health, increasing access to quality healthcare, reducing health disparities, protecting citizens from penury due to medical expenses, and providing accessible services that dignify patients (Murray & Frenk, 2010). The U.S. health care system has performed dismally in this regard, hence its ranking as 37th in the world in overall performance. Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is 36th in the world, below most developed nations and some developing nations. The U.S. healthcare system has been subpar in its contribution to these objectives, as the overall health of the population is not improving as fast as spending – although to be fair one can argue that there are several factors external to the healthcare system that influence the objective of improving the overall health of the population. On the other objectives of increasing access to quality healthcare, reducing disparities and protecting households from financial insolvency due to medical expenses, the U.S. healthcare system has been found lacking.
The U.S. spends more on health expenditure per person than any other country, with the growth rate in health care spending generally rising faster than the overall economic growth. The share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) allocated to health care spending grew from 9% of GDP in 1980 to over 16% of GDP in 2008...