American health system is one of the major institutions in America that impact the lives of every citizen. Whether rich or poor, young or old, female or male, good health facilities and services are crucial in establishing a strong and healthy nation. Although provision of these services is a collective responsibility of both the private and government sector, Congress has a fundamental role to play. This is mainly with regard to decisions and strategies put in place to augment affordable health care. It is important to note that health care cost in the US has been on the increase in recent years reaching three times more expensive in 2008 than it was in 1990. Although this phenomenon has been attributed to a number of factors including the global economic recession, policy makers, Congress has been viewed as a mega player in the system. This letter therefore addresses the issue of health care costs in the US with focus on socialized and free-market heath care systems. It details pros and cons of the two systems and possible solutions to be considered by Congress in adopting a better health care approach.
What drives health care costs? Managing health care costs is a very important idea and solid in ensuring economic growth in America. However, a thorough understanding of the factors which trigger high expenditure rates is of paramount need. Prescription of drugs and technology is one the factors which promote high medical cost. Many Americans spend a lot of money on new technology and prescriptions which are always in the market (McGlynn et al.
, 2635). With an increase in medical technology and drugs, a rise in demand for these services has simultaneously been noted from consumers even when it is not economical.
Another factor which promotes high medical expenditure among Americans is the presence of chronic diseases. This is due to longer life spans which high vulnerability to these chronic diseases. As a result, there is increased need for constant long term continuous treatment. The cost of chronic diseases has been approximated to be almost 75% percent of the total national expenditure. Additionally, demographic findings have revealed that the US has a higher rate of population aging. Old people find it hard to meet their health demands. They are also prone to diseases. However, aging population is not a major factor contributing towards high costs of health care (Ginsburg, 1591). Administrative costs also add to the overall national health costs covering about 7 percent of the total expenditure.
In light of the American health system, Congress' understanding on the benefits and cons of both socialized and free-market health care is very important. This would give a basis upon which decisions would be made. Under normal circumstances, the loss of a job for instance would mean the end of an individual's health insurance cover.
However, with a free-market health system, insurance cover is guaranteed even after losing a job. A free-market system cuts down the government's expenditure. Many countries with such a system spend relatively lower percentages of their GDP on health care compared to the US. It encourages cheaper services and affordable drugs through bulk purchases and negotiations. A universal health care system ensures that systems which do not have insurance cater for such through taxes. Such a distribution of costs would see citizens pay less for medical services (Besley, Gouveia & Drèze, 200). Of great importance would be the fact that taxes collected would be used to pay other projects like road construction, education funding among other development projects.
What are some of the cons of a free-market health care system? This system is likely to be costly after its implementation. Although supporters of the system assume that they would witness low medical costs, American taxpayers are likely to strain their resources in paying for expensive services. It would also force the working class to pay for citizens who get coverage from the government. This would be an economic burden even as they meet their medical needs. Additionally, a universal health system would imply more government involvement in healthcare (Schuster, McGlynn & Brook, 843). This would affect the manner in which select their doctors since a favorable medical expert may not be available. In the event that insurance financers fail as a result of such a system, doctors would be underpaid. This would affect provision of services and poor care customization.
On the other hand, socialized health care is practiced in a number of countries in the world. One of these countries is Israel which has enjoyed its fruits since its inception in 1948. This system has continued to dominate Israel despite the fact that a law was passed in 1995 endorsing Health Insurance. Israel's government is mandated to provide healthcare to every citizen through registration with service funds established in the country. Eligibility calls for payment of a health coverage levy. The most motivating aspect of the system in Israel is that eligible citizens qualify for all their medical needs ranging from diagnosis to surgery including physiotherapy and transplants.
The adoption of a socialized health care system would guarantee medical services to every American citizen regardless of their social or economic status. It would also cater for those without health insurance coverage in the event of medical need. It would give every American the right to receive medical attention at any given moment. A socialized system further ensures that a country contains its medical expenditure. As a result, a country only spends within acceptable limits with special emphasis to administrative funding and support (Besley, Gouveia & Drèze, 199).
Nonetheless, good and cheaper services are never cheap. For instance, the demand for improved health services must go down, a situation which can hardly be realized in the United States. We therefore note that a socialized system would not lead to better affordable healthcare. In order for the Americans to enjoy medical services, the overall number of doctors has to be increased together with hospitals and medical supplies at a considerable cost. This is one of the mega solutions which need to be adopted in the United States. The solution for the American health system cannot be found in mirage promises but freeing the healthcare industry. This would ensure availability of better and affordable healthcare for everyone.