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Healthcare Utilization (Healthcare Reform)
In United States, healthcare reform is an approach that uses different strategies to provide health benefits for the people. It normally involves health insurance structure to provide health access to many people. It also helps people to have legal protections from any various unwanted healthcare system issues. With discussed in this text that there are ways that current health care reform measures expanded access to health care. Relatively, the changes with this access affect the overall utilization. The concept of universal healthcare has also been discussed in relation to the current care that the country has to show whether it reflects or contrasts such concept.
Recent Healthcare reform
There has been an ongoing debate regarding the current healthcare reform in the United States. The Obamacare is President Obama’s healthcare law that aims to provide reforms in the country’s insurance industry (obamacarefacts.com). It aims to expand the medical aids and Medicare as well as to create insurance interchange pool, which will provide health benefits to the people such as affordable insurance. This is beneficial especially to that fall in the bracket between low and middle income American earners.
Many experts believe that the current healthcare reform in the country provides an expanded access to health insurance, which will be beneficial for millions of who are in need of affordable health access (The Commonwealth Fund). The measurement of how the reform may inhibit or expand people’s access to care can be done using the major elements that were included in the reform itself. Besides the expanded coverage, the access can also be measured to the subsidies that the government provides so that the people can afford the health coverage. In that sense, the presumption of expanded access is definite. There are also new rules when it comes to insurance market that favors the people who were not able to gain access to affordable healthcare. Peter Cunningham and Jack Hadley (2004) say that various models can be used to measure the people’s access to healthcare. Primarily, the probability of having a usual healthcare source is one of the measurements (Cunningham & Hadley, 2004). The probability of ambulatory care visit can still be used in today’s current healthcare reform status.
How might changes to access influence utilization?
It is a fact that a change in healthcare access may also affect the healthcare utilization. We may say that both positive and negative effects may happen if there will be changes in healthcare access. Primarily, if people have less access to healthcare, chances are, less people will go to the doctor and hospitals to have their health checked up. Therefore, if this happens, the risk of having increased fatal deaths due to less health access may happen. Only those who have access to healthcare services will have the opportunity to have their health conditions be checked. On the other hand, if the change will gear towards increasing the health access, the likelihood of healthcare utilization will also increase. In other words, people will not hesitate to go to the hospital to get a basic health service as they do not need to worry about the cost. National Bureau of Economic Research or NBER says that the insurance coverage affects the utilization of the healthcare. Therefore, if more access is provided to many people, the higher chance of having the healthcare utilization to increase as well.
Universal Health Care Concept
The concept of this term can be described using the objectives of the concept itself. First, the equity when it comes to healthcare services access; second, a quality healthcare service, and third, protection from financial risk (World Health Organization). The equal access to healthcare pertains to those who are in need and not just to those who are capable of paying the cost of the health service. On the other hand, the quality pertains to the effects of the services that must provide health improvements and the financial risk protection must ensure that the involvement of the cost of healthcare will not put the individuals on to the financial suffering after acquiring the health services.
The concept of universal health care can also be defined as an efficient system, which meets the health needs using people-centered care. In this sense, it must encourage and inform people to prevent illness and stay healthy. Thus, the concept also aims an early detection of potential illnesses so that the medical professionals will be more capable of treating the disease towards the complete health rehabilitation. Furthermore, the basic healthcare services must be affordable through a system of providing finances to health services so that people can have an expanded access to both medicines and available technologies used in diagnosing and treating the medical condition.
In the current healthcare reform of the United States, it reflects the concept of the universal health care especially the expanded access of health services for many people. It also reflects the government’s efforts to provide more affordable services to intervene, diagnose, and treat various medical conditions of the people. The Affordable Care Act and the universal health care reflect more health access for more people such as the removal of limitations of health benefits for individuals who are below 19 years of age because of the existing medical condition and many other expanded accesses to health care services (US HHS, 2014). It also provides lower costs such as the review prior the increase of health premium, which the companies must fully justify.
Stakeholders involved in Universal Healthcare
There are various stakeholders that are involved in order to achieve the universal health care system. The patients themselves are the primary stakeholders as they are the ones who pay and receive the services involve in the system (The Patient Factor, 2009). In fact, the subjects of debate regarding the development of universal healthcare are the patients. Thus, they are the ones who lose or gain the most within such system.
Another stakeholder is the government. Evidently, it is how the government responds to the healthcare needs of the people through establishing and reforming the existing healthcare laws for their people. The government is an essential part of the overall process towards achieving the system of universal health care. Furthermore, the medical professionals are also considered as stakeholders of the universal health care. The quality of the health services given to the patients will depend on how they demonstrate their professionalism. They are also the ones who interact directly with the patients and it is up to them how they can provide health encouragement to the people.
New Roles Emerging in Healthcare Industry
The expansion of health care access also changes the role of today’s health care industry. One of the most affected factors of this transition is the health workers. Besides the increasing demand in workforce, their roles must also evolve in line with the national system of healthcare to achieve new goals of the healthcare reform (AMN Healthcare). Since the expansion covers technological changes in medical practice, it means that health workers must also be capable of adapting technological changes as it is part of the emerging changes in providing health services.
Cunningham, P., & Hadley, J. (2004). Expanding Care Versus Expanding Coverage: How To Improve Access To Care. Health Affairs, 23(4), 234-244.
National Bureau of Economic Research. (n.d.). Does Health Insurance Affect Health Care Utilization and Health? Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/bah/spring04/w10365.html
Obamacare Facts. (n.d.). Obama Health Care Bill. Retrieved from http://obamacarefacts.com/obama-health-care-bill/
The Commonwealth Fund. (n.d.). Experts Believe Health Care Reform Will Expand Access to Affordable Health Insurance to Millions Who Need It - The Commonwealth Fund. Retrieved from http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/press-releases/2010/apr/experts-believe-health-care-reform-will-expand-access
The Patient Factor. (2009). Stakeholders | thepatientfactor.com. Retrieved from http://thepatientfactor.com/understandthe-system/canadian-health-care-101/stakeholders/
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2014, November). About the Law | HHS.gov/healthcare. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/
World Health Organization. (n.d.). WHO | What is universal coverage? Retrieved from http://www.who.int/health_financing/universal_coverage_definition/en/
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