Universal Health Care the Overall Purpose Term Paper

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Universal Health Care

The overall purpose of this paper will be to take a quick look at the present state of the healthcare system in the United States, and in an effort to improve that system, define what exactly constitutes a better health care system, what would be included in that system, the role of the parties involved in the new system, political and sociological factors that will be involved in enacting the changes presented, and ultimately, a comprehensive summary of this new, universal healthcare system.

Present State of United States Healthcare

In order to have a proper starting point for the construction of a new healthcare system for the U.S., and to ultimately create the proper universal healthcare system, the present state of the U.S. healthcare system is essential. The following quotation, in a brief passage, says it all about the poor state of healthcare at the present, as well as the need for meaningful, effective alternatives:Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Health-care costs are rising at three times the rate of inflation, and have been for the past five years. CEOs of major corporations are screaming that these costs are creating major problems for U.S. corporations and their workers. Employers are raising employee's co-pays, trimming other benefits, or cutting off health insurance altogether. Wages are stagnant or falling, especially for less skilled workers because the hike in health-insurance premiums eats up a larger share of the total compensation. As a result, the ranks of the uninsured are growing -- by 100,000 Americans each month. Some companies, like Wal-Mart, are said to encourage their lower-wage workers to sign up for Medicaid, the government health program for the poor, jointly administered by the federal government and the states; California alone spends nearly $32 million in tax dollars to pay for the health care of Wal-Mart employees. Not surprisingly, Medicaid's budgets are soaring, with governors slashing benefits and dropping hundreds of thousands from the rolls, further adding to the ranks of the uninsured. Meanwhile, Medicare is shaping up to be a tidal wave of red ink. By 2008, the country will spend more insuring retirees than on defense. By 2020, Medicare will gobble up 5% of the GDP" (Emanuel and Fuchs, 2005, p.20.

With the dire situation described above in mind, a functional definition of a better healthcare system will now be presented, along with the other components of that system that will be needed, factors involved, and so forth.

Definition of a Better Health Care System

Having pointed out the current situation involving the U.S. Health Care System, its flaws and shortcomings, it is now possible to develop a definition of a better health care system which will not only address the problems present in the current system, but also represent improvements over that system, going forward. When offering a definition for the "new and improved" U.S. Health Care System, if you will, the definition will be stated as follows:

What is proposed, as a means of making quality health care readily available for Americans of all walks of life, the new system will be based upon these key criteria:

AFFORDABILITY- Health Care, through the support of the Federal and State governments, in addition to financial contributions on the part of the purchasers, will be something that the purchaser will be able to afford as a matter of fact, thereby providing health care as a necessity of life, not an option if one can pay for it.

AVAILABILITY- Every effort will be made to make sure that when health care is needed by the patient, he or she is not turned away from health care resources due to overcrowding, discrimination, or anything of the sort. An open door policy will be the rule, rather than the exception to it.

ACCESSIBILITY- No health care resource is effective if the individual cannot reach the health care practioner and/or facility. Therefore, one of the key elements of an effective system will be to locate clinics, hospitals, and medical personnel in areas that are reachable by public transportation for those who have no other means of transport.

By definition, this system sounds attractive, and certainly would have a great deal of benefit if it were possible to launch and foster such a system, as others have advocated over the years, with no real results in the final analysis (the Nation, 2003). In order to make this working definition a workable, sustainable plan over the long-term, there is an absolute requirement that the components of the plan be established (what is included), how the system will be supported (who will pay for it), and how the powers that be must be team players to make the system a reality (a workable coalition of politicos and the average American). These concerns are addressed in the subsequent sections of this paper.

What is Included in a Better Health Care System

This "Better Health Care System" indeed must be a universal health care system, which is to say that it will provide "cradle to grave" coverage for all, with contributions levied from those who have the ability to make them. Included in this system will be specific positions and roles that must be carried out exactly if all is to properly function.

Role and Position of Payers, Purchasers and Providers in the New System

In this new system, there will be three distinct groups that must carry out certain responsibilities for the system to be successful and sustainable, as laid out in the following chart and further explained:

POSITION/FUNCTION

ROLE to BE CARRIED OUT Payers

The role of Payer will be fulfilled by a Federal agency designated to serve as the financial agent for the entire system, bringing together the Purchasers and Providers for maximum efficiency and benefit.

Purchasers (Consumer/Patient)

Purchasers, the actual consumers of the health care services, will provide financial resources to the Payer for proper handling, and will have the responsibility to judiciously seek out the Provider to meet their needs.

Provider

The Provider will have an ethical role in terms of using Payer funds properly, as well as the responsibility of fulfilling the obligation to provide equal, top-notch care to all patients without exception

To clarify the chart above, the functions and duties of each party in the new Health Care System merit a closer analysis and sharp focus of exactly how and why they will be called upon to do what they will do in this system.

The central placing of a Federal agency in the role of Payer represents tremendous advantages in several ways; first, the Federal government, having the Constitutional right to collect funds from working citizens, can easily utilize payroll deductions from working Americans to finance the system itself, pay the providers, and oversee those providers to guarantee the quality and availability of the services needed. This concept of "Medicare on Demand" represents an ideal way to streamline the system of medical reimbursement, thereby making services more profitable for providers and more affordable for buyers (Nichols, 2003). Additionally, it is feasible that elective types of surgeries, such as cosmetics and the like, not being covered by the new system, will inject additional revenue into the system via direct payments by the buyers.

For the average Purchaser, which is to say the patient, this system allows all Americans access to quality health care and gives them every advantage that the higher income patient traditionally enjoys. The funds that are collected from working Purchasers will provide the capital that the system needs to exist, provide services, and grow in the future; additionally, these payments will make it possible for those who are not working to be able to gain access to the healthcare that they in fact need. While the traditional response to this is that this type of a system already exists within the welfare systems of the nation, this is in fact an invalid comparison. In this system, by giving everyone regular access to preventative health care, and making it easy for them to obtain that care, many of the catastrophic health care issues that the welfare system now pays millions of dollars per patient to address can be proactively prevented for a mere fraction of that amount, adding to the efficiencies and financial advantages of this system (Universal Health Care, 1999). Purchasers will also be more willing to access this system for assistance when it is more mainstream, rather than the welfare system that brings along with it certain stigma and negativity that make all but the most chronically ill avoid the system.

Providers will also reap benefits from the new system in several ways; first, by having a guaranteed, predictable revenue stream, they can obtain equipment and facilities to best serve patient needs. Second, the providers will have virtually no non-paying patients due to the Federal role as Payer. Third, and perhaps most importantly, Providers, not having to dedicate huge resources to the red tape of existing reimbursement systems, can provide more focused care to patients at a lower cost (Dixon, et al.,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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