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June 26, 2013

Essay: Do We Need Healthcare Reforms?

US health care system is considered one of the highly dedicated and advanced systems around the globe. Due to the diversity and hugeness of American nation, American healthcare and its related issues are the buzzwords form the last several years. In the quest to develop the effective, efficient and error free healthcare system there are lots of activities and reforms are done and still are being developed.
However, the quest of health care reforms is not a new phenomenon, the Clinton government also attempted to draft the bill to improve the efficiency of health care system in 1994 but it failed. The health care situation of United States of America is changing at a rapid pace. Several trends were combined over the last few decades to create greater health care inequities. Both Medicaid and Medicare, for example, contributed to sharply rising medical costs because they required state governments to reimburse hospitals and physicians at ‘reasonable’ levels determined by health care providers. Predictably, reimbursement was very generous and expenses grew quickly.
Such skyrocketing medical costs, combined with the general sluggishness of the economy put health care out of reach for many Americans. I as a citizen faced serious problem in getting proper medical care as my self employed father could not afford health insurance for us and if it had not been for my mother we would not have had proper insurance. The loss of millions of jobs during the recent economic meltdown added to the growing number of people without medical insurance. The remaining jobs – increasingly nonunion, part time positions in the services sector – offered few, if any health benefits.
The theme of the Obama’s health care policies are providing the economical facilities and covering the anomalies. The idea and theme of these reforms that are being propagated is no doubt ideal but the proposal that is developed in that regard are the catalyst of various questions. Here, it should be borne in mind that concept of free heath care is not really providing the free health; there is the inevitable cost that has to be bare the nation in term of direct and indirect cost. The increasing volume of health care system means to increase the spending cuts and increasing the  tax rate that adversely affect on the amount that are allocated on the different domains such as education, etc. According to the fox news, the estimated cost is decreased to 830 US billion dollars.
Currently, in the domain of healthcare system and its reform, President Obama’s health reforms are now the words of mouth. These reforms are being considered as the balm on the soaring pimples of the American health system in the perspective of providing the better health care facilities, especially for those who cannot afford it.
According to the sources, USA allocated 17.5% to the health care services of the total its GDP in 2010, this allocated percent in second largest allocation around the globe on the health care systems. However, despite this gigantic allocation, US health care cost is still very high because of overutilization of services, medical errors, High administrative costs, non-standard practice patterns, and death because of medical errors that are key factors. In contrast, the administrative cost in the USA is about 50% higher than the it’s neighborhood Canada. Therefore, there is still the dire need to reduce the administrative cost by proper analyzing and using advanced technology. To transform the health care domain into the errorless, cost-effective and efficient system American government are still is the quest.
Most of the federal budget in United States goes toward three main things which include national defense, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. The estimated federal defense spending is more than $ 700 billion while federal Social Security Spending is about $ 700 billion and is expected to increase greatly over the next few years and hit more than 5 % of the entire national GDP and Medicaid and Medicare spending will be nearly $750 billion and is expected to hit around 10 % of the national GDP over the next few years. These expenditures add to the total deficit and hence the national debt of the country.
Out of these expenditures the excessive social welfare spending on social security and health are the areas mainly responsible for the increased national debt. The health care costs have been rising faster than the rest of the economy for decades; a trend highly seen as unsuitable. According to Henry J. Aaron a senior fellow in economics at the Brookings institution “one hundred percent of the problem with the nation’s fiscal future lies in health care” and if this health care problem is solved there will be no fiscal problems and hence no additional national debt. Medicare spending growth rates reflect not only the growing receiving population but also health-care costs that are growing faster than the inflation rate. According to former Comptroller General Walker “total health care spending is absorbing an increasing share of our nation’s GDP” it has risen from about 8 percent of GDP in 1976 to 16 percent in 2009 and is expected to rise to about 20 percent in 2016. This will make health care a major expenditure of GDP, which is an extra burden on the already stretched out budget of the country. The solution of this economic tempest lies in properly addressing the root causes of such continuous meltdown by properly allocating economic resources and investments in the correct direction and providing attention towards sectors that are in desperate need of money rather than spending billions in the form of stimulus packages and bailout programs.  (R.J, 2004)
At the present critical juncture, there exist a complete consensus that United States health care payment system badly needs some revolutionary changes and reforms. This new and reformed health care system will be responsible to provide affordable and quality health care to all American citizens along with numerous health benefits, access to quality health services and reinvigorated delivery system.
A national health care budget is suggested as a reform measure to reduce the present rate of increased cost. Though limiting expenditure may seem essential, other attempts made to restrain the cost have not worked and cannot be expected to succeed in the future. So limiting expenditure may be the last hope to control costs and provide access to care for the uninsured. In the past attempts by the government to reduce the health care costs, it shifted costs to the private sector by cutting back on Medicare benefits, reducing the pay of Medicaid providers, and implementing DRG compensation rates. These cost controlling measures by the federal government not only failed to reduce the costs of the health care system, but instead resulted in cost shifting from public programs to private payers. To eliminate this serious problem which is a cause of high national debt the private and public sectors will have to work together to repress costs in both sectors.
Despite this huge spending, there are still a loop holes in the system that are being catalyst to improve the cost and creating the barriers in front of the American people to reap the rightful benefit of this system. However, the quest of health care reforms is not the new phenomenon, the Clinton governments also attempt to draft the bill to improve the efficiency of health care system in 1994 but it was failed.  However, the current presidency of Obama and the House of Representatives approved the new healthcare bill in 8th November 2009 in the connection of decreasing the cost and improving the system’s efficiency. Therefore, it could be hoped that new Obama’s reform will open the new door of fresh and fruitful opportunities and facilities in the shape of lower cost and efficient services.


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