The healthcare industry has been subject to a vast number of changes just in the last few years and the system is quickly evolving. One of the most influential changes that the healthcare system has been exposed to would certainly be the Affordable Care Act. This legislation has greatly expanded the number of citizens who are able to purchase affordable health insurance in the Healthcare Marketplace and in most cases there is a government subsidy to help offset the costs to families. Furthermore, many states have expanded the Medicare system to include more low income families bringing another demographic into the healthcare system.
The Affordable Care Act will have significant implications for many different demographics in the community. For example, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than $14 million was awarded today to 45 school-based health centers across the country allowing the number of children served to increase by nearly 50%, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced (HRSA Press Office, 2011). There is an unprecedented opportunity to expand the healthcare accessibility to the local community but it will take a significant amount of effort. There are several strategies available to promote preventative healthcare and access to health care that are available now and there could not be a better time to take advantage of the resources available to promote well-being in the local community.
One of the most salient of the key strategies is to be proactive about managing individual's healthcare and treating them holistically which also focuses on preventive medicine. Preventive medicine not only improves the quality of life for the participants but it also has economic advantages. Making sure that as many people have access to quality health care will decrease health care costs by allowing people to receive regular and preventive medical care and not wait until they are chronically ill to seek treatment when medical costs are much higher (ProCon, 2014). When the condition progresses, so do the costs associated with it.
Despite this face, under the current system of healthcare, people who do not have insurance generally wait until it is much too late. When some gets sick that does not have health coverage, they tend to balance the costs and benefits associated with getting treatment rather than focusing on their health. This forces a number of people who get sick or hurt then to wait to the last possible moment to get treatment. The costs associated with healthcare can often be perceived as a tremendous barrier and this causes people to wait until they no longer have an alternative. Yet this situation is counterproductive to the individual as well as the system because as the condition escalates then it is more difficult to treat.
Furthermore, if an uninsured individual does not have access to primary care then they may have few options to seek healthcare in general. It is because of this that those people who are unable to pay for regular medical end up at the emergency room (ER). This often represents the only option for many individuals because they cannot pay the fees associated with a primary physician and, by law, the emergency room cannot deny anyone care.
The emergency room visits is one of the primary factors that have driven healthcare much higher over the years and also works to bankrupt more Americans than any other expense. In 2007, 62.1% of all U.S. bankruptcies were related to medical expenses and 78% of these bankruptcies were filed by people who had medical insurance (ProCon, 2014). Therefore, by expanding healthcare access to as many people as possible, there is an economic benefit to the entire community. The costs associated with bankruptcy affect the entire community and lower its economic potential. Furthermore, because the healthcare industry must absorb the costs of bankruptcies, much of these costs are spread out through the entire system which acts to further drive up the costs for everyone. This is one of the main reasons that the costs of healthcare have increased much faster than the rate of inflation over the last decade.
There are a number of direct costs that are easily attributed to the inefficiencies in the current healthcare model. However, other indirect costs can be even more…