America And Health Policy Issues Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Health - Nursing Type: Essay Paper: #78222777 Related Topics: Americas, America, Electronic Health Records, Health Issues
Excerpt from Essay :

Health policy issues are now becoming more contentious throughout the world. The advent of the internet has created a much needed awareness of human rights and liberties. No longer are countries able to fully sheath society from information. A critical component of this information relates directly to health care and the overall well-being of societies constituents. Policy issues relating to health are now becoming paramount to voters and decisions makers. The Affordable Care Act is one of many illustrations that detail the desire for universal healthcare for all. In addition, many countries are mandating a standard health care system for all of their citizens irrespective of socio-economic status. Although costly, it appears that many constituents are willing to pay for the ability to extend healthcare to all. Outside the universal healthcare within individual countries, many are now looking to address worldwide health epidemics. Aspects such as food shortages, proper treatment of disease, and health education are now becoming much more prominent. Although these issues are relevant on both a macro and a micro level as it relates to the world at large, the focus of this paper will be on the macro perspective. We will discuss how general health problems are altered to become policy issues within a given country. We will also discuss many of the more contentious issues such as healthcare standards, oversight and quality of care. Finally, the document will touch on both federal and state policy with an emphasis on the overall health care policy development process.

To start, a discussion on the Marco perspective of health issues must begin with a brief introduction to the macroeconomic environment. In particular, globalization has created a much more interconnected society as it relates to health care. Health care companies, products, and treatments are now being consumed without regard for geographic boundaries. This creates unique policy issues as it relates to healthcare. One such issue is costs and its impact on the lives of a middle income worker. With the ability to distribute goods and services worldwide, Health Care companies have an ability to create customer loyalty and dependence. This tends to occur through the rapid adoption of a particular treatment, say, Tylenol. As more consumers elect to use Tylenol, they become much more familiar with it. In some instances, healthcare companies have been known to raise prices as more consumers begin to depend on a drug for treatment. Just last month, the New York Times reported on a drug that went from $13.50 a table to over $750 (Pollack, 2015). What makes the price rise so unacceptable is that it occurred overnight! History is littered with examples of companies raising prices, even though the cost to product the product has been dramatically reduced. Profit incentives, greed, and competition all create an incentive in which the producers of a particular drug prosper at the expense of those purchasing the medication.

To combat this predatory action, both federal and state governments have implemented health policy. The most well-known is that of the Affordable Care Act, which was designed in part to reduce health care costs. The issue of ever rising costs has implications for all of society. High costs mean that the expense burden is place on average middle class Americans. Rising costs are also a burden to employees who may be unable to hire individuals due to the added costs of doing so. These costs ultimately make America uncompetitive, and place unnecessary burden on its citizens. The problem of costs needed to be addressed and the Obama administration has done so with the ACA (Elenfhend, 2015). Although the results have yet to be fully confirmed, costs of health care have indeed risen at the lowest rates in years. Many more Americans are insured which spreads costs over a wide array of constituents. Most importantly, individuals can live longer, more productive and rewarding lives.

Another policy issue prevalent in most developed countries is the right to have universal healthcare. Many of the more developed countries in the world offer universal health care as a right to all citizens. This health policy issue is particularly contentious due to the heavy costs mandated by its implementation. It is also very controversial as it subtly incorporates many

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In particular, Americans are currently jostling with the idea of more government involvement within their lives. A universal health care system would do just that-involve the government in the lives of all Americans. The controversy is exacerbated by the large amounts of costs that will be needed to fund, start, and maintain such a system. The political turmoil surrounding this health issue is what provides incentives for implementation. Many voters, particularly in the lower and middle class often elect to have more government involvement in their lives. In particular, cheaper more affordable healthcare (or at least the perception of it) is incentive for politicians to bring this issue to the forefront. Many other voters believe a universal health care system to infringe in the lives of many Americans and therefore should not be undertaken. As a result of these disparate views, policy creation will appeal to the constituents that a politician would like to appease. This unfortunately, is how many of the more important issues regarding health care policy are created. Going back to the Affordable Care Act mentioned earlier, lower costs were a primarily incentive to create the policy. However, many within the voting constituency wanted these cheaper incentives. Politicians, looking to get elected, promised to help achieve these desires and therefore took a health issue and made it into a policy.

A third issue related to health policy issues is that of privacy. Privacy, particular now in the information age, is becoming much more contentious. Serious data breaches at Home Depot, JP Morgan, and Sony have all created much uncertainty within the overall health care profession. Medical records are often the most sensitive and revealing of all personal information. With access to this information, hackers could potentially steal a person's identity or disrupt the entire health care system through nefarious means. As a result health care policy has been enacted to help mitigate the influence of hackers. Much like the other two problems above this is controversial. Similarly, the issue problem has become issue become it impacts a large amount of constituents in their most vital resource- their health. Because this problem impacts the masses, it is much easier to create a policy issue around it. In this circumstance, the use of Electronic Health Records is now beginning to form. Although the policy is still taking shape, the benefit of full implementation are very apparent. EHR systems are much safer than many of their traditional counterparts. It reduces errors, redundancy and costs at a corporate and federal level. EHR systems also allow for seamless transfer without the need for paper. Finally, it has already been proven to be successful within the VA system. The VA currently has the largest enterprise-wide health information system in the United States. As the largest enterprise wide health information system Vista helps more people per dollar invested in the system. This is otherwise known as "economies of scale." Because of this phenomenon, the VA can service more people for less absolute dollars, thus justifying its costs. As the VA system alludes to, there has already been large successes is regards to EHR systems throughout America. Healthcare costs however, still remain a vital part of the overall economy. 17 cents out of every dollar of GDP goes to the healthcare sector. These costs along, along with the safety of the information of those involved in the system are paramount to health care policy implementation.

How do problems become a policy issue to begin with? In many instances health issues are the dearest to American constituents. Without proper health, individuals would not be able to partake in many of the more aspirational aspects of life. Vacation, having children, building a home, or achieving wealth are all very difficult without proper health. As a result, many health issues plaguing the majority tend to be foremost in the minds of all constituents as a whole. This is particularly true when danger unexpectedly erupts that could cause serious casualties for all involved. This has occurred with health issues concerning Ebola, Mad Cow Disease, Anthrax, Small Pox and litany of other harming substances or diseases. Policy has been shaped to provide a proactive solution to many of the more common health concerns plaguing society. This is preferred over the much more reactive style, which creates policy after an outbreak has occurred. In many instances it may already be too late. With proactive health policy issues are treated before they occur. This is found most commonly in health policy related to vaccinations and minimal treatment. Vaccinations in particular for children helps to mitigate the health concerns bourn be society. Issues such as Chicken Pox or the Flu can have a direct impact on all individuals who come into contact with it. Policy…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

1) Bell, B, Thornton, K. (2011). From promise to reality achieving the value of an EHR. Healthcare Financial Management, 65(2),51-56

2) Jamoom, E., Patel, V., King, J., & Furukawa, M. (2012, August). National perceptions of ehr adoption: Barriers, impacts, and federal policies. National conference on health statistics.

3) Rosenberg, Charles E. The Care of Strangers: The Rise of America's Hospital System (1995) history to 1920 table of contents and text search

4) Pollack, A. (2015, September 20). Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/business/a-huge-overnight-increase-in-a-drugs-price-raises-protests.html?_r=0
5) Elenfhend, M. (2015, March 9). Obamacare's projected cost falls due to lower premiums under health care law, CBO says. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/09/obamacares-cost-is-falling-as-fewer-receive-coverage-under-health-care-law-cbo-says/


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