Health Care in the United States - a Comprehensive Research Paper

Topics: Health care, Universal health care, Health insurance Pages: 7 (2763 words) Published: August 9, 2013
Health Care – A Comprehensive Research Paper
Marcia Staub
SOC 320 – Public Policy and Social Services
Instructor Denise Orpustan-Love
July 28, 2013
The debate over health care in the United States and the public policies surrounding it has been ongoing for many years. Policy actors, legislators and lobbyists have been working to see that their policy agendas are implemented, and unfortunately, many of these agendas are incongruous with each other. One could say that this is exampled by the fact that the United States leads the world in medical research and medical personnel staffing but, per Theodoulou & Kofinis (2012), “the United States also possesses the highest health-care costs, the largest health-care expenditure of any industrialized nation, and a large number of individuals who fear the financial consequences of illness” (11, Sum.). This paper will focus primarily on the newly implemented Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the fiscal and health problems that America has faced over the years that resulted in this legislation, and the policy issues that lobbyists and legislators currently battle over in regards to pharmaceuticals and public vs. privatized health insurance, all of which impede the effective implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Both the scope and the nature of our health care crisis required that public policy be enacted regarding health care in the United States. Not only do Americans shoulder the highest health care costs in the world but, per Theodoulou & Kofinis, “the United States had the highest prescription drug use, prices, and spending, as well as the highest rates of diagnostic imaging and cost (Squires, 2011), (11.3). Public policy needed to change as, regardless of the billions of dollars being spent on health care in the United States, The life span of the average United States citizen was decreasing due to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes (many of which are preventable) with our socio-economically challenged population suffering disproportionately. Per Hoffman (2012), “Of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates, 9 rank among our nation’s poorest.” Clearly the system was broken systematically, financially and functionally. This health care crisis has led our government to enact the first comprehensive public health care policy to serve the entire population: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010 amidst public and political awareness that the health care system in the United States was in need of radical policy change. It is not, however, without its critics. Many private insurance companies lobbied against PPACA, arguing that patient care would ultimately suffer, especially where long-term care was concerned as, per Theodoulou & Kofinis, “As the number of Americans with age-related illnesses increases, so does the need for full-time caregivers and infrastructures to support them” (11.2). PPACA proponents argue that it facilitates better long-term care “by offering states timely new options and enhanced federal funding to create a care system that meets the diverse needs and preferences of people with disabilities and that also recognizes the role of family caregivers” (Reinhard, et. al, 2011, abst.). Pharmaceutical companies also lobbied against PPACA, clearly aware that the new policy regarding generics and price setting would gouge into their profits. Much of the private sector believes that “Further governmental regulation and taxation seems to only stifle future growth and innovation” (Reardon, 2010). Irrespective of rhetoric on either side, it will take years before we know how PPACA affects not only pharmaceuticals but also the overall costs of comprehensive health care. One of the strongest arguments regarding the lack of evolution in health care is this: With improved pharmaceuticals,...

References: Cringely, R. (2012), I Blame Ronald Reagan, BetaNews, Retrieved from
Hoffman, J
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Wikipedia (2013), Retrieved from
Peters, John C
Reardon, S. (2010), The United States Pharmaceutical Industry – Paying More Than Its Fair Share, Independent Commercial Compliance, Retrieved from
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