Quick Fixes & Duct Tape: The US Health System at Work

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Healthcare is an issue that has been on the global platform for many decades, always inciting strong and opposing ideals. The type of healthcare a country has depends on the country’s health system, and the overall aim of the health system is to achieve health, responsiveness and financial fairness (1). The United States is a good example on describing the functions of a health system and the impact it has on society. Even though the United States is a major global power, many of its citizens die each year due to inefficiencies in the country’s healthcare system. The number of deaths due to the lack of access to healthcare is unnecessary and avoidable, yet politicians and stakeholders are still debating the argument over the health financing aspect of the current United States healthcare reform. There are pros and cons to every healthcare system; however that does not mean we should stop looking for ways to improve our health system. The United States healthcare system spends about twice as much capita than other industrialized nations (2). The combination of deaths due to lack of coverage and twice per capita expenditure is mind-blowing.
Lets take a step back and compare the United States health system with another so that we can get a better understanding of the different types of systems there are. A good example of a cost effective healthcare system would be the National Health Service (NHS) of Britain; which is based on a more socialized health structure. The NHS is solely funded through the government and the taxpayers (3). It is true that this type of health system requires a raise in taxes but if the bigger picture is focused on the raise in taxes becomes a better option as everyone is entitled to at least their basic healthcare needs. America has the resources and knowledge available to really do something amazing in healthcare and it also has some of the best bio medical treatments in the world, but it does no good if people cannot afford them (4). There is no perfect system of healthcare, however standards with regard to the population need to be developed and enforced. The United States health system has let too many people fall through the cracks while continuing to increase the overall cost of healthcare. Policy makers and government officials have agreed that the health system is in need of repair; the issue that we currently have is a lack of consensus on how to fix it. The United States is currently at an important crossroads in its healthcare history, it will be interesting to see where it goes and how the people voice their opinions of the changes that are to come.

References:

1.           Murray CJ, Frenk J. A framework for assessing the performance of health systems. Bull World Health Organ. 2000;78(6):717–31.

2.          Ross JS. Health Reform Redux: Learning From Experience and Politics. Am J Public Health. 2009 May;99(5):779–86.

3.           Harrell E. Is Britain’s Health-Care System Really That Bad? Time [Internet]. [cited 2013 Oct 10]; Available from: http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1916570,00.html

4.           Reid T. The Healing of America. New York, NY: The Penguin Press; 2009.

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