Thesis: American Health Care Crisis

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Healthcare Crisis

US Health Care Crisis

US healthcare is in dire straights. Profit mongering HMO's and insurance companies have blatantly compromised the humanitarian aspect of care delivery founded in the Hippocratic oath of medicine. Managed care is totally mismanaged and the only rightful remedy is to follow the Canadian model and implement a universal health care plan. The National Health Insurance Act (HR676) is the only hope for the people of America and a most needed change that could save the ailing American health care system.

The United States is no doubt one of the best-developed countries in the world. At the forefront of technology and scientific development, the country also boasts of its high standards of living. However, a look at the healthcare, which is the basic pillar of a nation, presents a dismal picture. The growing number of uninsured people, which has crossed 46 million or roughly 16% of the national population, is enough reason to believe that the crisis is not looming large but it is already here. [Laura K. Altom] As a nation with an aging population with 20% of the people expected to be above 65 by 2040, the demands on the already ailing healthcare sector will be enormous. [Peter G. Peterson] With the current trend, experts are concerned that Medicare funds will be exhausted by 2018. [Science Daily] There is still no comprehensive health care coverage for all citizens as is the case in all other developed countries. Instead what we have in place is a rather complex system where private healthcare insurers play a major role. While the government funded Medicare and Medicaid programs are still at the core of basic healthcare delivery, the vast majority of people are left at the mercy of private HMO's for their healthcare. The documentary 'Sicko' by Michael Moore gives us a fair indication of the sad state of healthcare affairs. Let us have a brief overview of this important and urgent national issue.

Health Care Business

The documentary 'Sicko' clearly depicts the unfortunate situation of our healthcare sector. It transpires that healthcare has transformed into a huge business for profit mongering HMO's with patients at their mercy. The state of the uninsured is clearly obvious as is shown in the documentary. The case of Mr. Rick who accidentally cut his two fingers while at work and was given a choice between $60,000 for the middle finger or $12,000 for the ring finger is a fair indicator of the pathetic state of the insurance-based national healthcare. As mentioned in the documentary "it is just an awful feeling to put a value on your body." Every year 18,000 of the uninsured sick people die in the U.S. due to their inability to afford the cost of what is supposedly world-class healthcare. [Michael Moore] This silent crisis happening in America, which is well-known for its humanitarian concerns, is really a sad but sickening fact. While this gives us a picture of the neglected state of the 46 to 50 million uninsured in the United States, it turns out that for the 250 million insured people the situation is not much different. [Michael Moore]

Plight of the Insured

As it turns out, the insured people are in no safe haven as is shown in the movie. One of the earlier movies 'Damaged Care' was the eye opener which showed how the managed care is grossly mismanaged and catered only to the profiteering intentions of the insurance industry. That movie showed Dr. Linda Peeno, former medical reviewer for Humana, one of the big HMO's in the country, struggling with her conscience rejecting genuine cases of insured people and barring them from the critical care that they rightly deserved and were in urgent need of. Profit and not optimal care is the motto of these HMO's and it was revealed that doctors were offered commission and promotion based on the number of successful rejections of insurance claims. [Harry Winer]

In her testimony in the Humana case, Dr. Peeno stated "Whether it was non-profit or for-profit, whether it was a health plan or hospital, I had a common task: using my medical expertise for the financial benefit of the organization, often at great harm and potentially death, to some patients." [LINDA PEENO] In the recent documentary Sicko we see many instances of cases where having insurance does not guarantee security. The case of 'Donna Smith' and her husband, who both had insurance cover but still ended up bankrupt and having to move into their son's shows a grim scenario facing the senior citizens of our country. The documentary also highlights the limitations of Medicare insurance, which does not provide comprehensive medication coverage. The case of 79-year-old Frank who is compelled to work to cover the medication costs not covered by Medicare leaves us wondering about the status of our healthcare [Sicko] It is clear that increasing the number of insured is not an answer as people do not want insurance but they want healthcare.

Universal Coverage (The Canadian Model)

With the present state of affairs where it is clear that the health insurance industry is more inclined with profit making and less inclined with quality care provision, it is time to rethink our healthcare strategy. Canada has a single player healthcare model where the government provides comprehensive coverage for all its citizens. As per the 2004 statistics, Canada spent only about 9.9% of its GDP on healthcare while the U.S. spent 15.4% of its GDP. [Irfan Dhalla] It is estimated that the present multi-tier system involving multiple insurance providers with so many schemes has made care provision more complex. Roughly 31% of our healthcare expenditure is spent in administrative expenses that involve so much of complicated paper work. [Science Daily] Adopting universal healthcare would avoid these multiple formalities and associated administrative overload saving billions of dollars that could be spend on direct care delivery. The idea of universal coverage, which was first proposed by president Truman and later by Clinton appears to be saving solution for the nation.

National Health Insurance Act (The rightful Solution)

The implementation of the National Health Insurance Act (HR676) would prove to be a blessing in disguise to the people of the nation. This act proposes to provide uniform, single player healthcare model where all the citizens would be covered. By collecting a small amount in the form of health tax, the government could provide comprehensive healthcare in a single platform to all citizens. Also, a single player system would eliminate administrative costs to the tune of '$150 billion on paperwork' and '$50 billion by bulk purchasing of medications'. The proposed scheme would only cost a monthly fee of around $100 for the people. [PNHP] The main arguments against universal healthcare are the possible time delay involved in getting critical medical interventions. The 'wait period' is in fact a Clinical decision by the doctors based on the urgency of the patient, which is much better than disadvantaged people waiting forever. The message of HR 676 act is sound and clear. (Health care is not a privilege but a right) Also today, more physicians are agreeing that the feared governmental bureaucracy in care delivery would be more tolerable than the 'multiple intrusive regulations' imposed by the insurance companies. So autonomy is no longer an arguable factor considering the fact that the HMO's are more limiting than would be in the case of a Single player universal care system.

Conclusion

As Martin Luther King said, "of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman" [MAINE] The current multi-tier model of healthcare delivery involving countless insurance and HMO organizations has proved to be inefficient and ineffective solution to the growing problem of healthcare management. It is clear that commerce without morality is not only… [END OF PREVIEW]

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American Health Care Crisis.  (2009, May 12).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/american-health-care-crisis/708750

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"American Health Care Crisis."  Essaytown.com.  May 12, 2009.  Accessed July 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/american-health-care-crisis/708750.