The health of the people is a paramount aspect that every government ensures is not left to chance. However, in some countries, especially the developed ones, the health care system is not given absolute input by the government. As such, there are challenges that constrict the system, ultimately affecting how health care is delivered to the citizens (Leiyu, 2010). This paper will discuss the challenges in the United States health care system and why it is also quite costly.
Studies also show that are Americans are living longer as a consequence of advancements in medical technology within the US, provider delivery improvement and medical science. But despite this shift, as the population ages, more patients are highly likely to develop chronic conditions. It is estimated that up to 125 million Americans have one or more such conditions. On the other side, the system is developed only to cater for acute cases. As such, the system is disabled by the lack of resources to cater for chronic conditions, not being able to cater for the needs of certain patients (Institute of Medicine, 2003).
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Unlike other developed countries, the American health care system is not the preserve of any one centralized governing agency (Leiyu, 2010). The advantages of having a centrally controlled system are that it facilitates the delivery, payment, and financing of health care to all residents. As result of this lack of integration and coordination on the part of the government, the system has been negatively affected. The department of health focused consideration of medical technology is also putting a constraint on the American medical system, leading to the delivery of poor services. It is assumed that with the integration of technology into the system, the services delivered to the patients will also be of high of quality. This is however not true as technology driven care has shifted the delivery of services to acute care.
Additionally, the American healthcare system continues to be affected by a biting workforce shortage and discontent. Although the system has always been subject to trends in undersupply and oversupply of staff, there is a current shortage of nurses in the country. In 2000, the shortage was projected at 6%, while with growing population it is expected that the shortage will be at 29% (Institute of Medicine, 2003). In addition, nurses being the backbone of the system have always expressed dissatisfaction in the system. Sources of dissatisfaction include heavy workloads, understaffing, working with less-skilled workers in same industry, lack of support staff, increase of overtime and less remuneration.
The unavailability of an effective government-sponsored public insurance scheme is another one of the challenges that the American health system continues to grapple with. In developed countries, uninsured citizens are also able to receive medical attention from physicians in public medical facilities. However, in the United States, one has to show that they are insured so as to receive treatment. If they are not, they will have to wait until their situation gets to a critical level so that they will be able to receive treatment in the hospital emergency department (Leiyu, 2010). Lack of free market is also a bottle neck in the health care system. In an ideal free market, patients are informed regarding all matters about health care services offered. The influence from the insurance companies on the other end causes the hospitals to conceal certain information from the patients on what are the best services offered in the country. The role of power influence from multiple players in the industry also produces counteracting forces in the system. The providers in the context want to provide quality services to the patients, but the government on the other end want to contain increment in cost.
Inability to assimilate the increasingly complex science base is also disabling the system. Since 1887, the United States government has been known to allocate considerable amounts of funding to biomedical research (Institute of Medicine, 2003). The figures have been increasing yearly for the purpose of ensuring that the system will be able to avail better health care to all citizens, going into the future. In contradiction, there is also no consideration for any health professional on average, as they all are required to assimilate all the training from education, experience and ongoing training. Thus, for clinicians to cope with the changes is a challenge as few professionals are prepared to stay abreast.
Comparing the United States health care cost with other developing countries, one can easily notice that costs in the case of the former are absurdly higher. One of the reason is that the country’s health care concern is finding absolute satisfaction in technology rather than delivering quality services and care (Leiyu, 2010). As such, seeing as hospitals invest exorbitantly in order that they meet the costs that come with advanced health care technology, the costs of medicare in the USA also are increased..
The impact of law suits used by Americans not only adds up to challenges in the health care system but it also raises the costs of health care (Leiyu, 2010). When patients incur slight harm, they are quick to take medical providers to court where the will be granted awards from the jury. To protect themselves, medical providers are engaging in defensive medicine. They prescribe additional diagnostic tests, maintain abundant documentation on cases and schedule regular checkup appointments to cushion themselves.
Leiyu, S. (2010) Major Characteristics of U.S. Health Care Delivery. Jones & Bartlett Publishers
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Health Professions Education Summit. (2003) Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality . National Academic Press