A recent article touted the 6.1% growth of spending on medical care in 2007.
The same article cautioned however that, "most experts know that no matter what the numbers say, there is still a great deal of work ahead to reform a healthcare system that is still fundamentally broken -- and is facing one of the worst economic recessions in decades" (Lubell, 2009, pg. 6).
Government and industry officials have been working to reform the industry for more than a decade yet the problem seems to be getting worse rather than better. More and more individuals are finding that insurance takes too much of their income and are forced therefore to forego that expense. Government is leery of committing to the cost of such expense, and industry is reluctant to offer expanded coverage without the backing of the federal government. As the interested parties do the two-step the problem becomes exacerbated. One recent survey showed that "so far, many agree that successful reform would include expanded coverage and access to care for the more than 45 million Americans who currently are without health insurance" (Dobias, 2009, pg. 27). The article goes on to articulate additional agreements that "any congressional platform to fix what is widely seen as a broken system must includes ways to lower costs and raise quality over the long-term" (Dobias, pg. 27).
Again costs of providing that care and raise the quality of care are the key components that should be established in any healthcare reform. One way to address this issue is by cutting back on the excessive costs and wasteful spending that is currently taking place in the healthcare industry.
According to some experts that wastefulness is much more prevalent in American society than it is throughout the world. A 2008 report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that "high prices, inefficiencies and the added cost of insurance administration outlays for healthcare in the United States are much higher than in other developed nations" (Wechsler, 2008, pg. 4). The same article shows that "expanding insurance coverage to more people, while desirable and ethical, will boost spending even more" (Wechsler, pg. 4).
Expenses are especially worrisome to an industry that requires a return on their investment portfolios that has been missing in recent months as the stock, bond and real estate market have all been socked during 2008. One expert states that in the near-term, the health insurance sector is "better positioned to weather this storm that other sectors" (Kongstevdt, 2008, pg. 29) but at the same time all insurers depend on investment income and some have already been so negatively affected that they are "running negative underwriting margins" (Kongstevdt, pg. 29).
So how does healthcare reform address such issues? It is a problem that desperately needs to be addressed as the American society grows older and with that aging begins to experience all the medical malaise experienced by older bodies.
Many experts feel that a nationalized healthcare system is the answer to all the industry's problems. However, other countries look at the system in the United States and are envious of its obvious benefits.
France has a healthcare system that "has been running a deficit for more than a decade...and (where) failure to make sweeping changes will result in an added deficit of 66 billion euros per year by 2020" (Newman, 2008, pg. 10). The problem in France is that many of the citizens are so enamored with the idea of a 'free' healthcare system that they do not even realize that they are paying for it with more and more taxes resulting in less coverage and accessibility.
Similarly "many people in Great Britain view their nationalized healthcare system as failing, and although the British press routinely criticizes American health care some experts believe that Great Britain should adopt a similar model" (Blizzard, 2002, pg. 8).
If nationalized healthcare is not the answer, then perhaps a mixture of nationalism complemented with the free-market system might be. Allowing insurance companies to aggressively market their services to those individuals that can afford to pay for those services while at the same time charging the federal government for providing a basic service to those that cannot afford it, might be a possibility. What is evident is that Americans are very leery about a nationalized or European system being adopted in America. Hiliary Clinton learned that lesson the hard way, by being forced to back down when presenting her plan for 'nationalized' health care. Many experts believe that if a "socialist healthcare scheme is allowed to pass...the Americans will be seduced into accepting a seamless nationalized health care system" (Bentley, 2005, pg. 44).
From that aspect of nationalism many also believe that those who participate will also "end up with a medical ID implant that will undoubtedly morph into a mandatory national ID" (Bentley, pg. 44).
The question still remains as to how will a 'nationalized healthcare system" affect everyone in America? The answer is, negatively, and positively. In the long-run the negative aspects will evidence themselves and citizens will find themselves standing in line for basic services provided them by less-than-stellar physcians with little incentive to provide better care. Those individuals with enough money will still receive the best care, even if it means going to other countries in order to do so. A nationalized healthcare system would be positive for those liberals who are much more into feelings, than into reality. It is a feel-good solution that will allow them to pat themselves on the back and tell themselves they care for their fellow citizens.
A nationalized system does little to address the real issue. Instead what should, and could take place, is to allow the free market to address the system. Allowing individuals the freedom to make a profit provides for much more of an incentive to succeed than any government program ever has, or ever will. Allowing capitalists to address the issue by presenting them with opportunities to be successful will bring about far superior results than allowing government bureaucrats the same opportunity. Success and bureacracy have nothing to do with one another.
When leaders such as Obama come out with statements such as the ones made concerning government being the only entity that is able to address such large issues (such as the statement he made concerning the 'stimulus' bill) then it is no wonder that citizens have no faith whatsoever in governmental leadership.
Perhaps what will happen is a sudden change of heart by all the Congressional liberals who will realize that the only sure way of addressing any issue is by allowing capitalism to work, but what will likely happen is that they (in their arrogance) will continue to believe that they are the only ones that can truly handle such scenarios and they will establish a healthcare system that not only cannot provide for the rich, it will also not provide for the poor. It will be an intertesting future for American healthcare whatever plan is implemented.
Bentley, C.S.; (2005) the new healthcare system, New American, Vol. 21, No. 18, pg. 44
Blizzard, R.; (2002) the haves and have nots of healthcare, Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing, pp. 8-9
Brown, J.; (2009) Obama healthcare plan would shut down private sector, OneNewsNow, http://www.onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=414372, Accessed February 10, 2009
Conn, J,; DerGurahian, J.; (2008) HIT budgets taking a hit: study, Modern Healthcare, Vol. 38, No. 50, pp. 10-11
Dobias, M.; (2009) View from Washington: This time, they mean it, Modern Healthcare, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 26-28
DoBias, M.; Lubell, J.; (2008) Reform a la carte, Modern Healthcare, Vol. 38, No. 51, pp. 6-7