Issues of access to health care

Topics: Health care, Health economics, Medicine Pages: 7 (1417 words) Published: February 20, 2014
The Issue of Access to Health Care
There are many problems with the healthcare system in America that the government has been trying to fix the problems for decades. Currently, the one of the barriers that many people face is an inability to access to health care because of its high cost. In the 1940s, many men were in overseas during the war, and US employers needed workers. In order to attract the employees, they added a health insurance plan to the benefit package. This was the beginning of employer-based health insurance. However, healthy people started having to pay the health care costs for sick. In the 1950s, the health care system became more complicated because of a host of newly available medications, including antibiotics. The cost of health care rose as a result, and many unemployed people were unable to see a doctor, or had to for their treatment in cash. In response to the rising costs of health care, many US companies began providing health care plans during the 1960s. At this time, Medicare and Medicaid were implemented to help the poor and elderly. Due to a rapid increase in healthcare costs in the1980s, most of employee-sponsored healthcare plans were changed to managed care from a pay-as-needed plan. The managed care plan was implemented to set up the fee structure and manage the costs. By the1990s, the most popular health plan was the managed care plan, which is still commonly used in today’s health care system. Some presidents have tried to create a near universal healthcare system in past decades, yet many people are still unable to obtain medical coverage because of the high cost (“A Brief History,” 1999). The expense of medical care coverage has been a long-term problem in the United States. Estes and Harrington claimed that the reason for higher medical care costs is due to higher prices for services than in other countries (2008, p. 250). There are many uninsured people seeking treatments despite the financial burden. The government has implemented various cost effective programs for uninsured patients. However, there are still many people who are unable to seek medical care. Bodenheimer (2008) provide a few explanations for high medical care costs. First, there is no free market in healthcare. Patients simply do not have options to choose hospitals or physicians for healthcare services because of a lack of transparency in healthcare system in the U.S. Another contributing factor the high cost is the growth of the aging population (p.269). Cunningham (2008) conducted a study to examine how the burden of high medical costs contributes to self-reported measures of patient trust and perceived quality of care. He concluded that: “Exposing patients to more of the costs could lead to greater skepticism and less trust of physicians’ decision-making, thereby making health-care delivery less effective”(Cunningham, 2008, p. 415). In this study, patients with high cost burdens perceived the physicians as financial transactions rather than care providers. Self-pay medical costs are one of the factors contributing to dissatisfaction with the US healthcare system and, in consequence, self-payers have to face making difficult choices. Doty, Collins, Rustgi, and Kriss (2008) believed that 72million people had trouble with paying medical bills in 2007(2008, p.1). Their study showed that both the insured and uninsured suffered from financial burden, especially in low-income, uninsured population. Furthermore, Doty et al (2008) pointed out that medical insurance does not guarantee financial protection because of insufficient coverage for items such as prescriptions, dental care, preventative care, and long-term facilities coverage. The ineffective means for providing healthcare paired with the fact that some cannot

access health care due to high costs should provide enough reasons to change the healthcare

system in America. In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was

signed in an...

References: A Brief History : Universal Health Care Efforts in the US. (2006). Retrieved from September 8,
2013 from
Buerhaus, P. I., DesRoches, C., Applebaum, S., Hess, R., Norman, L. D., & Donelan, K. (2012).
Are Nurses Ready for Health Care Reform? A Decade of Survey Research
Cunningham, P. (2009). High Medical Cost Burdens, Patient Trust, and Perceived Quality of
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