The Inadequacies of the US health reform

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The United States of America is one of the only three developed countries among the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries that does not provide universal healthcare coverage for its citizens (the other two are Mexico and Turkey) 1. The USA also has the highest per capita on health expenditure but continues to perform poorly in regards to major health related measures like life expectancy and infant mortality, compared to other developed countries. USA spends about $8,000 on health care per person annually, which is above the median expenditure for OECD countries ($3,000 per person) 2. Furthermore, the USA performs poorly in other major indicators such as patient safety, efficiency, and equity, while countries like Australia and the UK continue to excel in these areas 3. These inadequacies within the US health system despite its high spending on health are unacceptable and demand major reform. The current US healthcare reform lacks a comprehensive structure that ensures all citizens are guaranteed adequate and proper healthcare. The Affordable Care act does not have proper mechanisms in place for the provision of enough healthcare workers. In 2010, the number of practicing physicians in the US was 2.4 per 1000 population, which is below the OECD average of 3.14. Obama healthcare involves thousands of organizations and bureaucrats for collection and payments of fees which leads to administrative waste of precious resources. The so-called “affordable act” has so far proven to be very unaffordable for ordinary citizens as employers are forced to increase employees’ premiums and reduce their workforce. In addition, young people are forced to pay for insurance they do not want, which can be interpreted as a form of redistribution of wealth from the young to the well-off working class. The technical problems with the healthcare website exemplify the problem with the legislation itself. All these glitches signal the need for better options like the single payer health care system. Under this system, a single party at the state or regional level would handle financing and administration, and all Americans regardless of age, income, diagnosis and color would receive medical coverage. Also, overall health status of Americans would improve because care would be need based rather than based on the ability to pay. Canada, which has a single payer system, performs better than the US in terms of health costs, health coverage and health outcomes. On average, Canadians live three years longer than Americans. Furthermore, the USA’s infant mortality rate is 18.8% higher than that of Canada 5. The success of the single payer system in Canada suggests its feasibility in USA given the cultural similarities between the two countries. Therefore a credible solution to do away with Obama care and usher in the US health form would be considering the implementation of the single payer health system.

References.

  1. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505103_162-57522437/issue-brief-health-care/
  2. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Health Data 2012
  3. K. Davis, C. Schoen, and K. Stremikis, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally 2010 Update, The Commonwealth Fund, June 2010
  4. David A. Squires, The U.S. Health System in Perspective: A Comparison of Twelve Industrialized nations, The Commonwealth Fund, July, 2011
  5. http://www.unitednorthamerica.org/simdiff.htm
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