Health Care Reform
Health care as a determinant of the modern state is one of the mainstreams in the US domestic policy. It occupies a substantial place in the state care for nationals and prevention measures. For this reason, health care is vitally important for the prosperity of society; thus, it should be improved by adopting reforms to make it available for everyone.
Health Care Reform as the Core Issue in the US Social Policy
The USA possesses one the most expensive and complicated health care systems among the developed countries. According to the latest estimates in 2010, $ 2.6 trillion, or 17.9% of GDP, which is $ 8.402 per person, has been spent on health care. In 2013, about 86.6% of Americans had health insurance; more than 60% of citizens were insured privately; 34% of nationals were supported by the government programs. The available public programs make possible to provide medical social protection for consumers of all ages, people with disabilities, and members of the poor families. For this case, the American government is the largest provider of insurances of the nation. However, the health insurance does not cover nearly 13.4% or 42.0 million Americans. The cost of private insurance is very high because of the private companies’ benefit from the customers’ activity. For this reason, the main goals of the modern medical reform are the state control over the compulsory insurance of citizens and the social support programs improvement.
The basic criteria for developing the health care can be determined by the following indicators: an increasing of the number of satisfied Americans by the medical service level and a saving the state budget by a struggle with the extra costs and abuses.
Retrospective Issues of Health Care and the US Settlement Experience
The flaws in the healthcare system were characterized by a lack of the medical staff personal interest and inaccessibility of medical aid to those who have no insurance was firstly addressed by nurses. Appealing to the officials, they encouraged colleagues to participate in the experience exchange forums and several legislative initiatives to force authorities to focus on the improving medical services. The US statistics evidence that the level of health care among masses has lowered in the period 2000 to 2010. For this case, the quest for the innovative methods and instruments to improve health care system has been considered. The Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (FEMTALA) partly assisted in a settlement of the discussed problem. It supported patrials, who had no opportunity to apply to the insurance organizations protection or pay for treatment.
In 2008, the government representatives justified a need for the general insurance. Such approach could provide higher state subsidies and suitability of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. However, it means the increasing of government’s funding of health care sphere and deeper involvement of employers in this process. Thus, the American residents (as the target audience), the state administration (as the core insurance guarantor), private concerns and firms (that could be affected by the loss of customers), and employers (obliged to subsequently guarantee insurance to employees), can be taken into account as the main stakeholders in the reforms development.
Policy Options Implemented by the US Government
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or just Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the first and the most significant instrument of influencing the medical field initiated by Obama in 2010 and known as Obamacare. It is developed to make health care protection more feasible. Obligatory insurance allows Americans to get in medical institutions the well-tried medicines and experienced assistance regardless a finance status.
The following directions of the government activity could be mentioned. Firstly, a special governmental service will be obligated to struggle with an unreasonable increase of insurance cost and other shadow activities of the private firms, such as refusal to deal with the already sick individuals. Secondly, the creation of the healthy competition in the market will allow every American to find affordable insurance. Thirdly, companies and businesses will be encouraged by authorities to care for their employees’ health insurance. Fourthly, the reform also implies an increase in fees from medicaments and medical equipment fabricants.
Skeptics of the state policy note that insurance costs have increased several times despite the government’s promise. Thus, they offer an alternative policy, which is called the Single-Payer Healthcare. It is proposed to focus on preventive health measures for avoiding compulsory insurance costs. Also, invited to redistribute taxes; the wealthiest Americans are stimulating to pay more, thereby supporting poorer citizens. Another proposal is targeted funding for the best medical institutions and doctors in accordance with the positive indicators.
Along with a private health insurance system in the United States, there are two government programs that are publicly funded - Medicare (for the seniors) and Medicaid (for the poor or disabled people). However, numerous citizens cannot join any program for the objective reasons. Thus, the state authorities are going to improve health care by expanding the measures of mentioned programs. The increase in payments can have a negative impact on the budget; thus, one of the initiatives is to rise the retirement age to 67 years.
ACA also suggests total standardization of health care supported by Obama’s policy. It is a trend that implies an orientation of medical services on generally approved norms. Clinical practice guidelines (CPG) are used as defining the standard of care. For this case, the state authorities are financially responsible for the wide provision of medical services.
Present Policy Weaknesses and Available Alternatives Benefits
Proponents of compulsory insurance believe that the abolition or substantial reorganization of the Obama initiatives could void the insurance of 32 million people. However, they oppose raising the age limit from 65 to 67 years for getting benefits within a designated program. A logical step to facilitate the task for the state social assistance is addressing the consciousness of citizens in order to ask them to refuse from government support because of the funding urgent need absence.
The imperfection of the compulsory insurance modern system forces to explore alternatives for improving the medical sphere. Firstly, skeptics of the Obama’s policy propose to abolish compulsory insurance and adopt Single-Payer Healthcare. The core argument is the fact that about 60% of the population are against these acts. The security program forces employers to provide financial support to citizens and to monitor the efficacy of insurance. Employers react on the insurance mandate by reducing the number of employees and using the part-time schedules that cause unemployment. The abolition of the compulsory insurance mandates would save about $ 282 billion for taxpayers. In advance, it could support the state budget due to struggle with the unnecessary spending. The policy of the preventive measures support could save costs that must be spent on the insurance. Moreover, insurance should be made out in a given period of time. If a citizen is not able to draw it in time, he finds himself in a very difficult situation and had to wait for favorable conditions for getting it. Lack of compulsory insurance entails fines and increased the cost of health care.
The second step for improving the health system is the abolition of mandatory assistance for the elderly in scopes of Medicare (Obamacare). Receiving Medicare support pensioners lose their social benefits in other spheres. Thus, in fact, government policies limit senior’s access to medical care. A more balanced approach would be the release of the elderly from the tax in respect of the social assistance.
Recommended Policy Actions
The mixed approach could become a part of an effective system of improving health care. Refusal of compulsory insurance will save money for those, who do not need it and prefer an individual approach in private clinics. However, it is necessary to leave the individual or selective insurance, which is necessary in hazardous operating conditions. However, employers will be more willing to contribute hired workers’ insurance and will not attempt to deprive people of jobs.
The state aid can be provided by the release of the seniors and the poorest ones from the part of taxes. It will help the government to abandon the direct individual financial support of medical care. However, such an approach will still enable the citizens to obtain insurance and not to be on the verge of poverty. In addition, the Single-Payer initiative could save public money as well. When a single institution that will be able to allocate finances in the health sector on behalf of the government is created, the need to support multiple instances and insurance companies will disappear.
Instead of compulsory insurance, programs to support preventive measures that encourage citizens to regularly monitor health are better to be designed. Financial support for doctors and the best clinics would stimulate service efficiency and prevents further costs of insurance due to medical complications of the disease.
The research paper has proven that Obama administration health care reform occupies one of the central places in the domestic social policy. Now, the care reform aims to obligate the insurance companies to support all Americans regardless of private status, and provides state financing and the better standards of medical assistance. However, ACA cannot respond all questions. Thus, the Obama initiative should be revised and softened in order to prevent the reverse effect of reforms.