Cost and Access to Healthcare in America

Cost and Access to Healthcare in America


The issue of healthcare access in America and other parts of the world have been highly discussed in academic literature. The cost of healthcare is an essential determinant of healthcare access, which means that healthcare insurance is a significant determinant of healthcare access. It is estimated that about 44 million American have no health insurance, with 38 million having inadequate insurance. This is a significant number of people who can anytime lack adequate healthcare due to health care financing challenges. This sparks a debate on the importance of a universal healthcare insurance coverage which would ensure access to healthcare by all Americans. This paper seeks to discuss the pros and cons of the American universal healthcare program.

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Verrecchia, Thompson & Yates (2019) in the discussion of the various issues relating to universal healthcare notes that it helps in ensuring that all persons have access to preventative, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative services that would otherwise be impossible. Given that healthcare costs are a major challenge both in America and other parts of the world, health care insurance under the American Universal healthcare program would be greatly beneficial to the vulnerable and disadvantaged populations in America. It is estimated that administrative costs in the healthcare facilities are about 30% of the total costs of healthcare in America. The majority of the costs comes from the billing process, which takes about 45% of the total costs. The advantage of Universal healthcare is that it reduces the administrative costs by scraping off the billing processes in the healthcare facilities. Other pros of Universal health care includes that it ensures standard healthcare services at low costs and guides the society towards healthier choices. Verrecchia, Thompson & Yates (2019) uses evidence from countries that have successfully employed universal healthcare to highlight the benefits of the program.

Scaggs (2016) discusses some of the opposition to Universal healthcare. The major disadvantage of the Universal healthcare program in America is its share of the federal budget. Scaggs (2016) estimates that a full enrolment of the Universal healthcare program would cost the Federal government about 20% of the entire expenditure. The social costs of personal choices are also mentioned as a disadvantage of the universal healthcare systems, with those opposed to it arguing that some people pay for others. For example, 85% of the costs of healthcare are as a result of diabetes and heart disease, which are as a result of lifestyle diseases. Those opposed to the Universal healthcare argue that people with health issues which are as a result of their choices should be made to pay for the healthcare costs. Scaggs (2016) also mentions that full enrolment of the Universal healthcare program reduces the incentives to provide quality healthcare. This is based on the argument that direct financial benefits motivate physicians and players in the entire healthcare systems to provide better services. Healthcare access is a major issue since a significant number of Americans have no access to effective and efficient healthcare due to financing challenges. Therefore, improving healthcare access through full enrolment of the Universal healthcare program would be necessary. The fact that insurance coverage reduces the individual costs for healthcare makes the program good for the American public health systems. The system also reduces the high administrative costs and therefore reducing the healthcare costs in general. Full enrolment of the Universal healthcare systems would be beneficial to the disadvantaged populations as it ensures standard healthcare services at low costs for all.


References

1. Culyer, A. J., and Chalkidou, K. (2019). Economic evaluation for health investments En route to universal health coverage: cost-benefit analysis or cost-effectiveness analysis? Value in Health, 22(1), 99-103.
2. Scaggs, C. (2016). The Problem of Suffering: Universal Health Coverage as a Partial Solution. Dialogue and Nexus, 3(1), 8.

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