Example Of Federal Government And Healthcare Reforms Argumentative Essay
For a notable period of time now, the matter of healthcare has been a significant debate mostly due to the federal authority’s failure to forge sound reforms to curb the emerging problems in healthcare. The American healthcare system has been faced by a myriad of problems that have escalated to the point of undermining the provision of proper and reliable healthcare to the American citizens. There is a need to mete out suitable solutions as well as sound reforms that will solve the issues that have plagued the healthcare sector. This paper will examine some of the reforms that the federal government should animate in order to address the emergent concerns in the healthcare industry as well as look into the counterarguments to some of the solutions suggested.
First and foremost, in order to address the matter of healthcare, the federal government must put in place policies and reforms to cut down the soaring costs of healthcare. The government must endeavor to reduce the incredulously high costs of healthcare to enable access by Americans from all walks of life (Carter 236). It is clear that the cost of healthcare in America has escalated over the years, preventing Americans, especially those from low-income families from accessing quality health care. The cost of healthcare has skyrocketed due to the authority’s service on demand policy, misaligned financial incentives for clinical services, lack of standardized care, absence of coordinated patient care, oversupply and overuse of technology, lack of national standards for benefit diagnosis, lack of rules for medical suppliers, demanding consumers, inadequate disease detection system, expensive healthcare administration for private sector plans and unequal access to care (Winter 19). All these bottlenecks that increase the cost of healthcare can quickly be alleviated if the federal government takes steps to curb them. Firstly, the federal government needs to regulate the cost of medical supplies that include equipment, as well as medical drugs. According to Winter (22) “For example, the Medicare prescription drug benefit approved under the Bush administration expressly restricts the largest health care purchaser in the United States, which is the federal Medicare program, from negotiating with drug manufacturers for better pricing.” This kind of restriction is just one example of a draconian policy that has resulted in high cost of healthcare in the United States. Secondly, the government needs to regulate the healthcare system towards achieving equality and equity in standards all over the country in terms of the charges levied for accessing appropriate healthcare. As a result of this inequality, the healthcare system can be considered an imperfection. As Shi et al. (288) remark “In an imperfect market, the use of healthcare is driven by need rather than by economic demand.” This need-based system results in very high costs as the federal government is not in control of the outcomes thereof. Thirdly, the central authority must dictate the use of and supply of technology in healthcare in order to significantly lower costs. Technology must be limited only to those dire situations which depend on it. The onset of excessive use of technology has a direct impact on the amplification of healthcare costs. New technology is costly to develop, and expenses incurred in its research and development is included in the total health care expenditures (Shi et al 289). It is, therefore, imperative that the technology is developed and used on need basis, to help reduce healthcare costs in the country. It is also notable that technology increases consumers’ expectations towards the quality of diagnosis and treatment. Fourthly, the government should work towards crafting policies that will make the cost of healthcare administration both in the public and private sector equal and equitable. These policies will help in alleviating the high prices charged for healthcare especially in the private sector. In addition, consumers will have confidence in seeking care in the private as well as the public sector without any bias towards either system. Finally, the government needs to assure its citizens of quality healthcare as the citizens have a lot of information on what constitutes quality health care. The current era relies on information, which is readily available over the internet and everyone is well enlightened to make informed choices as to their healthcare requirements.
The second solutions to the challenges of healthcare lie with the focus on preventive measures as opposed to curative measures. The federal authority must seek mechanisms that would prevent diseases that affect its citizens. These preventive mechanisms must be designed in terms of policy reforms for them to take maximum effect. Firstly, preventive methods must focus on changing the eating habits of the American populace (Umang 192). Umang (192) continues to assert that, “It is a fact that the people of the United States eat more unhealthy ‘fast food’ that often their food habits are irregular, and they tend to eat much larger portions than the average people of other rich nations do.”. These unhealthy eating habits tend to increase the propensity of the American people towards diseases and other terminal infections. The federal government, therefore, needs to take to the frontline in promoting the awareness of its citizens on the benefits of healthy living and eating. This promotion of knowledge must be done in tandem with the encouragement of the agricultural sector to produce healthy foods for the population. The recent influx of genetically modified foods should also be brought to check due to the myriad side effects that arise from their consumption. Additionally, it is imperative that the federal government facilitates the training of professional nutritionists to assist in the promotion of an awareness drive on eating habits for its citizens. The presence of these professionally trained nutritionists will alleviate, not only the tendency of people to eat ‘fast food’, but also promote the attraction of the population towards healthy and balanced diets. Secondly, the government should come up with reforms that will limit the indulgence of people on drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes. It is widely known that the intakes of copious amounts of alcohol, as well as excessive smoking of cigarettes, are major causes of terminal illnesses like cancer and liver cirrhosis among other complications. These reforms must work hand in hand with counseling and therapy services for drug users. Thirdly, the federal government must place its focus on vaccinations of its population against common diseases such as tuberculosis and typhoid which are major killers. Research must also be promoted to come up with other preventive medicines for common infirmities. Research on preventive medicine can be accelerated via cooperation and collaboration with other countries who have experienced or those who are experiencing similar problems. Finally, in terms of prevention of diseases, the central authority needs to craft policies to curb illegal immigration in the country. Illegal immigrants might come into the country bearing new ailments unknown to the government agencies such as the CDC. Prevention of disease or illness is an essential part of evolving a new and cost efficient healthcare system (Umang 193).
The third solution to the failing healthcare sector lies in innovation. According to Bernan (31137) “The private sector can bring about change. They can craft new ideas and concepts faster that we can in Congress and in the Federal bureaucracies here in Washington.” The development of innovations to deal with the problems in the healthcare sector will lie in collaboration between the federal government and the private sector (Behan 53). It is only through collaboration that sound innovations, which will work towards making the healthcare segment even more efficient, can be developed. In addition, through innovation, the private sector can bring about a level of competition sorely lacking under the current stifled and micromanaged system of healthcare (Bernan 31137). Some of the innovations needed in the healthcare sector include health insurance, access to care, new cheaper ways of providing quality healthcare and regulations for the health sector. Innovations are hugely dependent on research and as such the importance of studies in the healthcare sector cannot be underestimated. The government in partnership with the private sector as well as other corporations such as the World Health Organization must work to innovate and forge solutions towards achieving better care. Better methods and technologies need to be developed in order to lessen the cost of healthcare. The state also needs to come about with creative methods of funding health care other than taxes that only make healthcare more expensive as well as inaccessible to the majority of the population. Furthermore, innovations will give the people more freedom to make informed decisions pertaining to their health care, ranging from what insurance plan to take, how much they wish the government to be involved in health care reforms as well as how much they want to spend on their health. According to Stribley et al. (3) “The need for innovation in healthcare has never been bigger. Health care spending in the U.S. is projected to grow 5.8 percent annually through 2020, placing increasingly larger burdens on American households and the economy with each passing year.” This statement further magnifies the importance of innovation, especially in growing and sustaining healthcare. The changes required should focus on; providing targeted funding to support development of product and service innovation at junctures where private financing is insufficient; facilitating partnership for exchange of information and heading selector inter-sector initiatives; and crafting regulatory frameworks that incentivize innovation and promote dissemination of information. In addition, focus on health information technology should be invested on, as it will serve to catalyze the rate at which information central to healthcare development is disseminated.
Critics argue that lowering the cost of health care in the United States would result in a total collapse of the economy as most of the federal government’s expenditure will go towards healthcare and by doing so, ignoring other strategic areas such as energy and agriculture. The most severe criticisms towards lowering the cost of healthcare arise from the fact that it exacerbates the problem of access to healthcare, it constitutes unfair competition against nonprofit institutions, it treats health care as a commodity rather than a right, it includes incentives and organizational controls that adversely affect the doctor-patient relationship hence diminishing quality of healthcare, it undermines medical education and that it constitutes a medical-industrial complex (Gray 225). Nevertheless, borrowing from President Obama’s remarks on September 26, 2013 in reference to the Affordable Care Act, “In the United States of America, healthcare is not a privilege for the fortunate few -- it is a right.” It is evident that each and every citizen must receive quality affordable healthcare hence justifying the need to lower the cost of healthcare. On the matter of focusing on preventive rather that curative measures, critics contend that preventive methodologies are not efficient in solving the healthcare problem on their own (Champagne 48). They posit that preventive techniques require funding nearly equivalent to that which funds curative methods and as such are inefficient in solving the healthcare issues. It should be noted though, as the saying goes, that prevention is better than cure and that prevention leads to the development of a healthy population more aware of their responsibilities towards achieving a clean bill of health (Behan 60). Finally, the critics of the role of innovations towards solving the numerous problems in the United States healthcare system comment that innovation cannot be realized without proper interrogation of conceptual frameworks within the healthcare system as a whole. In addition, they argue that the process of real innovation must focus on four areas, which are, empathetic thinking, transdisciplinary learning, creative problem solving, and the pursuit of tangible outcomes. This type of thinking is retrogressive, in that, it does not appreciate the central role played by innovation, reflection and creativity towards the development of better methods of solving the problems in the health sector. It is imperative to consider that without innovation; most of the world’s population would have already been obliterated by diseases such as small pox which existed back in the 19th and 20th century. The place of innovation in charting out solutions to the myriad problems in the health sector can therefore not be overlooked (Stribley et al 10).
In conclusion, it is explicit from the essay that solving problems allied to the health sector is essential to the prosperity of the United States as a nation. The major solutions towards solving the litany of problems plaguing the healthcare sector espoused in this essay are; reduction of the cost of healthcare, focus on preventive methodologies rather that curative methodologies and innovation by the private sector through the support of the federal government. It is evident from the essay that the cost of healthcare has escalated as a direct consequence of factors including; the government’s service on demand policy, misaligned financial incentives for clinical services, the lack of coordinated standardized patient care, oversupply and overuse of technology, lack of national standards in benefit diagnosis, lack of rules for medical supplies, demanding United States consumers, poor disease detection systems, and expensive healthcare administration for private sector plans. In order to lower the cost of healthcare, the problems associated with the ever-escalating costs of healthcare have to be addressed most importantly via developing policies that will standardize the health sector as a whole. In addition, as a solution to the deteriorating healthcare sector, it is essential for the federal government to lead the way in facilitating awareness by laying the spotlight on prevention of disease rather than cure. Prevention of disease can be achieved via the promotion of healthy eating habits and also through vaccines. In order to develop better eating habits, it is essential for the government to train qualified nutritionists who will help in advising people on how to eat healthy, especially given the fact that most American citizens indulge in unhealthy ‘fast foods’. Also, for purposes of prevention, it is essential that the state controls the production of genetically modified organisms, most of which have adverse effects on health. It is necessary for the research and production of vaccines to be given greater emphasis so as to further aid prevention. The final solution to the healthcare sector lies in the state’s inclination towards innovation in collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders. It is clear from the essay that innovation cannot occur without four key elements which include empathetic thinking, interdisciplinary learning, creative solving of problems and the pursuit of substantial outcomes. It is also notable that innovation is a central feature towards the development of new technologies in healthcare and the advancement of policies, reforms and frameworks towards the achievement of a sound healthcare sector. Notwithstanding, these solutions have, in most cases, been decimated by critics. For instance, the critics of the idea of reducing the cost of healthcare posit that it has drawbacks which include the fact that that it exacerbates the problem of access to healthcare, it constitutes unfair competition against nonprofit institutions, it treats healthcare as a commodity rather than a right, it includes incentives and organizational controls that adversely affect the doctor-patient relationship hence diminishing quality of healthcare, it undermines medical education and that it constitutes a medical-industrial complex. However, these criticisms towards lowering the cost of healthcare are easily dispelled by the fact that access to quality affordable health is a right and not a privilege as may be assumed. Critics also argue against the focus on preventive medicine remarking that the nearly the same amount of funds used for curative purposes is used for preventive purposes. Nonetheless, this can be dismissed as mere conjecture based on the fact that it is not supposed by credible data as well as the saying that prevention is better than cure. Finally, critics also claim that the focus on innovation is not enough to solve the healthcare problem. This claim tries to dwarf the essentiality of innovation towards achievement of better reforms and development of better technologies to improve healthcare. The proponents of the view that innovation is unimportant forget that zeitgeist of the twenty-first century is reflection and innovation based on the large amounts of information available to people in the world at the moment. It is crucial to note that problems in the healthcare sector must be tactfully curbed for the United States to prosper on all facets.
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