As the president works to pass what is most assuredly his most important legislative package to date, he is struggling against a great wall of opposition which appears to be driven by a philosophical aversion to public funding of a deeply privatized industry. The result is a tremendous amount of pressure on the president and a reigning fear in the public that he will be forced to capitulate. There are indications from the Obama Administration that the crucial nature of this issue has produced a distinct urgency in terms of passing some system overhaul. Indeed, this discussion generally supports this idea that there is an imperative to act in intervention of a wildly undesirable healthcare scenario. Thus, the nature of this legislation remains uncertain, and those who have desired the establishment of a public option and its promotion of social welfare goals may yet be bitterly disappointed. (MSNBC News Service, 1)
All indications are the severely compromised versions of the public option being pushed through Congress would also force the public to dramatically scale down its expectations. As reported by Whitesides (2009), there is a moderated version of the healthcare bill that is projected to assisted roughly 3 or 4 million Americans, a far cry from the 46 million reported in the same article. Whitesides also reports that non-partisan budget analysis projects a greater cost in premiums by a slight margin for public plans than for those provided by private companies. (Whitesides, 1) There are deep flaws here which reflect an attempt to sabotage the public option.
The contest between Obama and the Republican Party finds a fairly progressive presidency attempting to take on the healthcare system's current failures against the will of its small core of wealth opportunists. This helps to point to one of the greatest arguments in favor of the establishment of a national healthcare system, which is its overwhelming economic burden on Americans and on American companies outside of the healthcare industry. Indeed, cost increases have been so unnaturally discordant with the pact of the economy that the healthcare industry is in particular headed toward crisis mode. In the direction that the healthcare industry is going right now, "U.S. health care spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade reaching $4 trillion in 2015, or 20% of GDP (2)." (Simmons, 2006, p. 1) This hurts the consumer more than anybody else. In many ways, these costs have already hurt many Americans and have already effected the cost of living. However, it is clear that it will probably get much worse without timely and truly reforming legislation. As the retirement population grows to a size that is larger than the American workforce, which many experts say will happen by about the same year as mentioned above, the industry could go through a serious depression.
The dedication of American public funds to a healthcare system that possesses the resources to cover most Americans, to hire sufficient workforce populations and to maintain high quality facilities is a clear necessity to the public good. And with respect to those who would oppose a transition such as that proposed by the Obama bill, it is useful to note that the rise in America's healthcare costs has not been natural. By looking at some of the facts related the overall economy to the industry being discussed, it becomes clearer that there is an unnatural inflation to costs. This is making hospital stays, prescription drugs, insurance plans and other costs that fall onto the consumer to rise at a rate that is higher than the rate of the cost for providing these things. Profit margins for large companies are growing higher even while people are finding it more difficult to afford their basic medical needs. This calls for the intervention of the government in the medical industry. The government must pass a piece of legislation with the power to restrict companies from exerting unfair prices on their consumers. Additionally, the market should be opened up to better competition, with more companies competing against a publicly funded option and therefore offering better prices to customers. The government has the social responsibilities to make it easier for average Americans to afford healthcare.
There may be very negative consequences to not providing the aging baby boomer generation with good healthcare. When this largest generation of Americans prepares to receive its Medicare benefits, it will be important that the government is prepared to support this expense. Otherwise, the effect will be very negative for our economy. This justifies the suggestion that either taxes should be raised, or that the tax burden should be shifted on major healthcare providers who benefit the most from the current situation. This would increase the funding needed to keep Medicare functional and offset the negative economic effects of the retirement of this generation.
This would also help to create the necessary funding to help improve public healthcare programs and also to invest in such socially constructive programs as public campaigns for awareness of health issues and hazards. This is important for reducing the impact of social inequality on healthcare realities. According to Marmot (2005), "a burgeoning volume of research identifies social factors at the root of much of these inequalities in health. Social determinants are relevant to communicable and non-communicable disease alike. Health status, therefore, should be of concern to policy makers in every sector, not solely those involved in health policy." (Marmot, 1099) By contributing to various initiatives such as the creation of ads about sexually transmitted diseases, spreading awareness of drug rehabilitation programs and making citizens aware of free health clinics, the government can lower healthcare costs overall by preventative efforts. This would be a constructive use of public funding to the betterment of public healthcare with few of the philosophical drawbacks that have confounded the current legislative process.
Another important element of the legislation to be enacted should be the creation and funding of various programs meant to encourage improvements and innovation in the healthcare context.. This would mean a number of useful programs, such as the creation of scholarship programs and wage-increase incentives for healthcare professional candidates. Nursing schools and medical universities, by creating financial relationships with healthcare facilities, can work to encourage enrollment and make easier the move from school into professional work.
Another program would also involve the universities, where better public funding could help to improve the ability of smaller staffs to provide better care. This would mean that the encouragement of technological and scientific innovation could be used to help create forward-thinking ways to improve our medical situation.
A change in the way that we deal with our healthcare industry should include a greater diversification of the funds channeled through public avenues and into the industry. Today, the healthcare industry is ruled by private competition, and this has had clearly damaging impact on the price structure of a sector that should rightly be determined by public need. As Creer (2009) indicates, "healthcare in the U.S. is currently in a state of chaos. Not only does a large percentage of the population lack health coverage, but overall we are increasingly paying more and more for what in comparison to other countries is a decreasing quality of healthcare." (Creer, 131) America's healthcare consumers are experiencing a decline relative to the experience of the citizens in many other industrialized nations.
Thus, with the passage of an uncompromised version of the Obama healthcare bill, the biggest effect would be felt by American consumers. The overall goal of these changes would be to help lower all of the costs that are related to medicine. Insurance costs should be lowered to at least be more proportional to the direction of the economy as a whole, instead of at a rate this is so much faster. Another effect should be that pharmaceutical companies, with better oversight by the government, will more honestly represent their investments into the research and development of drugs in the lower cost of medicine.
For a stakeholder like the American government, the consequence should be a reconsideration of the way that it directs the money that it gains from taxpayers. It is not a secret that many politicians are influenced by big companies who can invest large amounts of money into campaigns and campaign commercial. With better laws in place to encourage proper use of public office, America's lawmakers should be more likely to direct funding into free public clinic, into medical insurance programs for the poor and into improvements of conditions in public hospitals. Indeed, a more concerted effort to improve the availability of a comprehensive social support system for individual patients would reflect a constructive ambition for the healthcare sector. According to the research by Schwartz & Fronhner (2005), "a review of the literature revealed that social support related to positive outcomes such as an individual's health and well-being." (Schwartz & Frohner, 12) The government can help to effect these positive outcomes by contributing to the…