How to Improve Health Care System?

What is it that makes Americans overly enthusiastic about reforms to health care? The statements such as “don’t alter your Medicare” and “everyone should be able to access top of the line health care regardless of price” are, to me, non-informed and apathetic statements that suggest a lack of comprehension of our health system’s history, its present and future resources , and the challenges to funding that America is facing in the coming years.

We all have questions about how the health system is reaching what some call the crisis stage. Let’s try to remove some of the tension from the discussion by looking at the way in which health care has developed in the United States and how it has changed our beliefs and attitudes regarding health care. As a starting point, we can look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Obama administration’s health reforms. Let’s also take a look at the theories proposed by the Republicans?

Access to cutting-edge medical services is something that we can all agree is an excellent thing for our nation. Being diagnosed with the effects of a serious illness is among of the most difficult challenges in life and the thought of not having the resources to cover the cost is truly terrifying. However, as we will discover, once we have the facts, we’ll realize that reaching this goal isn’t simple without our personal contribution.

These are the issues I’ll touch on in an attempt to make sense of what’s happening with American health care , and what ways we can each take to improve the situation.

Let’s first get an understanding of the history behind American medical care. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive study of that past, but it can give us an understanding of how the health system and our expectations of it developed. What was the reason that drove costs up and higher?

For a start, let’s go back towards our first topic, the American Civil War. The war was fought using outdated strategies and the destruction caused by modern-day weapons that were in use at the time combined to create horrific outcomes. Not widely known is that the majority of the deaths of both sides weren’t due to actual battle, but instead of what transpired after an injury from a battlefield.

At first, the removal of wounded patients moved at a snail’s speed which led to significant delays in the treatment of injured. Additionally, numerous wounded were treated with surgery for wounds, as well as related surgeries and/or amputations on the affected limbs. This often led to the onset of massive infections.

You could get a treatment for a wound but then to be killed at the hands of medical practitioners who even though they were well-meaning, their actions were usually fatal. The high death tolls could also be blamed on everyday illnesses and ailments in a time where antibiotics were not available. Around 600,000 people died from various reasons, more than 2percent from all of the U.S. population at the time!

We’ll skip the beginning into the second half of 20th Century to gain an additional perspective, and also to get us to the present. Following the civil war, there was steady progress in American medicine , in both knowledge and treatment of specific illnesses, as well as advanced surgical techniques and the education and training of physicians.

For the most part, the only thing doctors could provide their patients was the “wait and look” method. Medical doctors could manage bone fractures , and was increasingly attempting surgical procedures that were risky (now mostly done in sterilized surgical areas) however, there were no medications yet in use to treat severe illnesses.

Most deaths were caused by untreatable diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis measles, scarlet fever and/or their associated complications. Doctors became more aware of vascular and heart conditions as well as cancer, but didn’t have the resources to treat these diseases.

This basic overview of American medical history will help us to comprehend that up until a few years ago (around in the 50’s) there were no techniques to treat serious or minor illnesses. It is a crucial issue to be aware of; “nothing to treat you with” implies that doctor visits could be relegated to emergencies. In the event of such an incident, costs are reduced.

The truth is there was nothing for doctors to offer , and thus, virtually nothing was offered to drive healthcare spending. Another factor that slowed down costs was that the medical treatments which were offered were paid for out-of-pocket which meant through an individual’s personal funds.

There was never a thing as health insurance , and definitely not health insurance provided from an employer. With the exception of those who managed to get their way to a charitable hospital, health costs were entirely the responsibility of the person.

What does health insurance do to health expenses? The impact it has on health care costs is to this day, huge.

Health insurance for individuals and families became an opportunity for businesses to avoid wage freezes and to keep employees following World War II, almost instantly, an enormous amount of cash was made available to fund health insurance. The money, a result of the huge amounts of dollars in medical insurance companies, helped the development of an innovative America to boost medical research. More Americans were covered not just through private, employer-sponsored health insurance but also by increasing federal funding, which led to the creation of Medicare in 1965 and Medicaid (1965).

Additionally, funding was made available for a broader range of veterans health benefits. Finding a cure for nearly anything has been extremely profitable. This is the main reason for the variety of treatment options to choose from today.

I am not trying to suggest that medical advances aren’t beneficial. Think about the millions of lives saved, improved, extended and improved in productivity due to medical innovations. However, with a source of funding increasing to its current size (hundreds millions of dollars each year) increasing pressures on healthcare costs is inevitable.

Doctor’s advice and the majority of us want and have access to the most recent medical technology, which includes medical devices, pharmaceuticals instruments for diagnosis and surgical procedures. This means that there’s more healthcare to invest our money in and up until recently, the majority of us had insurance and the expenses were paid for by a third party (government or employers).

Add unending and unreasonable public demand for treatment and access and you have an “perfect storm” that is causing ever-increasing cost of health care. The situation is only getting worse.

Let’s now look at the most important questions that will take us to a look and hopefully, a better understanding of the health reform plans being discussed in the media today.

Are the current trends in U.S. health care spending long-term sustainable? Is it possible for America keep its global competitiveness with 16% of the money that accounts for 20 percent of our gross national product , is devoted to health care? What are other industrialized nations investing in health services, and are they even near the same amount? When you include the politics of an elections year into the mix data to help us determine these questions becomes vital.

We should put in time understanding the health care system and figuring out what we think about it. With the right knowledge, we can effectively determine if certain health care plans could be able to solve or even worsen the issues. What can we do to address these issues? What can we do as individuals to help to solve the problems?

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The Obama health plan is complex, certain – I’ve not seen a health insurance plan that’s not. Through a myriad of programs , the plan seeks to tackle one of two issues:) increasing the percentage of American who are covered under an adequate health insurance (almost 50 million people aren’t) and) controlling costs in as to ensure that the quality of care and access to health care are not negatively affected.

Republicans want to achieve the same basic and broad goals, however their plan is portrayed as being more market-driven rather than government-driven. Let’s examine exactly what Obama plan is doing to accomplish the two goals above. Be aware, of course the plan was approved by Congress and is set to begin to begin to take effect in 2014. That’s the direction we’re taking now as we try to overhaul health care.

Through the insurance exchanges and an expansion of Medicaid, the Obama plan significantly increases the amount of Americans who will be protected through health insurance.

To fund the cost of this expansion, the program requires that everyone has health insurance. There is a cost to be paid in the event that we fail to meet the requirements. The plan will supposedly pay the states to help those that are added to states-based Medicaid programs.

To pay for the additional costs there were new taxes enacted for the purpose of covering the increased costs. One is an 2.5 percentage tax on all new medical technology. Another tax raises the tax on dividend and interest income of the wealthier Americans.

This Obama plan also employs concepts like evidence-based medicine accountable care organizations, research on comparative effectiveness and reduced reimbursements to health care service providers (doctors as well as hospitals) to reduce costs.

The insurance mandate that is covered by the points 1 and 2 above is an important objective, and many industrialized nations other than the U.S. provide “free” (paid for through very high corporate and individual taxes) health insurance to the majority but not all their citizens.

It is crucial to remember that there are a variety of restrictions that the majority of Americans might not be prepared. This is the most controversial element that is part of the Obama plan: it’s insurance requirements. This is because the U.S. Supreme Court recently was asked to hear arguments as to the legality for the insurance requirement as the result of an appeal by 26 states attorneys general who claimed that the congress had overstepped its authority in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. constitution by passing this provision of the plan.

The issue is that if it is decided that the Supreme Court should rule against the mandate, it’s generally accepted it is likely that the Obama plan as it stands today is likely to fail. This is because the primary objective of providing health insurance coverage to all people would be severely restricted in the event that it is not completely eliminated in the event of a ruling.

You can imagine that the taxes outlined in the third point above are not popular with the entities and people who have to pay these taxes. Pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies hospitals, doctors and insurance companies have all required the option of having to “give away” something that could generate new revenue or lower costs within their areas of control.

For example, Stryker Corporation, a large medical device firm has recently announced at a minimum 1,000 employees being cut in order to pay for these fees. The same is happening to other medical device companies as well as pharmaceutical companies too.

The decrease in well-paying jobs in these industries as well as in the hospital industry will likely increase as old cost structures will need to be addressed to meet the lower rate of reimbursement for hospitals. In the next 10 years, certain estimates place the cost reductions for doctors and hospitals at one-half trillion dollars. this will flow directly into and affect companies who supply hospitals and physicians with the most recent medical technology.

This is not to suggest that efficiency gains are not achievable through the changes or that additional jobs will be created. However, this may cause pain for a period of time. This helps us understand the fact that reforms in health care affect us in a positive as well as negative.

In the end, the Obama plan is aimed at changing the way that medical decision-making is taken. Although basic and clinical research is the basis of almost all work in the field of medicine doctors are a creature of habit just like the rest of us , and their education and daily experiences influence the way they approach diagnosing and treating our ailments.

The concept of evidence-based medicine as well as the concept of comparative effectiveness studies. Both are attempting to build and apply databases of health information from electronic records as well as other sources to provide more accurate and more up-to-date information and information to doctors about the effects and costs of the services they provide.

There is an enormous amount of healthcare waste currently, with estimates of up to one-third of the over 2 trillion dollars in health care expenditure per year. Imagine the savings likely to be realized by reducing unnecessary tests and procedures that don’t compare with treatments for health which are more documented as efficient.

Today, the Republicans and many others don’t support these views since they typically describe them as “big federal control” of my and your health healthcare. To be fair regardless of political affiliation the majority of people who are knowledgeable about health care in any way, are aware that more accurate data to meet the needs discussed above are essential for ensuring health care efficiency and patient safety as well as costs moving in the proper direction.

A brief overview of what Republicans and other conservatives consider health reform. I think they’d believe that the costs should be brought under control, and that more than fewer Americans are entitled to health insurance regardless of their financial ability.

The main distinction is that they believe that competition and market forces as the best way to achieve the efficiency and cost reductions that we require. There are numerous suggestions for driving greater competition between health insurance companies as well as health healthcare suppliers (doctors and hospital) in order that the customer will begin to drive costs down through making the right choices.

This is true for many sectors of our economy. However, this model has demonstrated that improvement is not always apparent in the context of health healthcare. Most of the issue is that the choices for health care are not easy even for those who are aware and connected. The general population isn’t as well-informed and we’ve been taught to “go to the doctor” whenever we believe it’s necessary. We have a culture which has given a lot of us the notion that healthcare is something that exists and there’s no reason to not access it regardless of why and, even more importantly, we feel that there’s no way to alter the cost of health care to ensure its accessibility for those who have serious health issues.

This article wasn’t intended to be a thorough research, but I wanted to keep it brief in order to grab my readers’ attention and allow for discussion on how we can help solve certain issues. We must first realize that the resources available to health care aren’t indefinite.

Any changes made to provide more insurance coverage and easier access to healthcare will incur more costs. We must generate the money needed to fund these changes. In the meantime, we must reduce the cost of medical procedures and treatments and also limit the availability of non-proven or poorly documented treatments , as we have the highest-cost healthcare service in the world. And we aren’t always the most effective outcomes in terms of longevity or the prevention of chronic illnesses sooner than is necessary.

I believe that we must make an overhaul in how we view the health system, its accessibility and costs, as well as who is responsible for paying for it. If you think that I will say that we must arbitrarily cut down on the amount we spend on health care, then you’re incorrect. This is for you and your fellow citizens: the cost of health care must be protected and preserved to those who are in need. In order to get this money, those who don’t require it, or are able to delay it or avoid it should take action. The first step is to convince our elected officials that the country requires ongoing public education regarding the importance of preventive health practices.

This is a must and has helped decrease the amount of U.S. smokers for example. If the prevention approach was to become a reality and become a reality, it is reasonable to expect that the number of people seeking health care for the many lifestyle caused chronic illnesses would drop significantly. Millions of Americans suffer from these illnesses much earlier than they did in the in the past, and it is due to bad lifestyle choices. This alone could make it possible to save a lot of money to pay for the health expenses of people in desperate need of treatment, be it due to an crisis or a chronic illness.

Let’s explore the initial issue. We are the majority of people who don’t take action to incorporate fundamental wellness practices in our lives. We don’t exercise , but we make a lot of excuses. We don’t eat well, but we make a lot of excuses. We smoke, or consume alcohol in excess, and offer a variety of excuses for the reasons we aren’t doing something about these harmful personal health practices.

We aren’t taking the advantage of health checks which look at blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body weight, yet we give a myriad of excuses. In the end, we ignore these issues and the result is that we fall victim earlier than is necessary to chronic ailments such as heart disease or diabetes, as well as hypertension. We end up seeing medical professionals for these and other regular issues due to the fact that “health treatment is available” and we believe that we don’t have any responsibility for reducing the demand we place for it.

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