Health Care Debate Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

health care debate that has been going in the United States. It discusses the Obama Care Act and how it impacts the society. Functionalist perspectives and theories are utilized in analyzing the situation and what outcomes are expected. The major themes and concepts of the functionalist theory are discussed in detail.

The Health Care reform proposed by the Obama Administration has long been the area of debate in America and in countries all over the world. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act go on to cut down the number of people who are not insured. It requires small businesses to provide medical insurance to all the people working in the business. The employers are obliged to provide a good quality medical insurance. Failure of the small business to provide a good health care system will result in a penalty for any employee that goes uninsured. This act applies to the business that has more than 50 employees working at a time. The employers who are not running multimillion corporations are worried as to how they will meet the cost of applying this health care reform. Business like restaurants cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars in paying premium for the health care. On the other hand, if they don't agree with the act, they would pay the same amount or even more as penalty.

Even though the main objective of the government is to provide good quality health care to the masses, the way they proposed the solution isn't welcomed by majority of the employers. The National Federation of Independent Businesses is not happy with this law. More than 26 states went on together and filed a law suit against the government. ("Supreme Court Ruling Dooms" B01) If general figures are given, then the price of an insurance premium for an employee is around fifty thousand dollars per year for a single employee. (Napsha) If this is combined for all the employees, then that can be a strain on the employer. What is unfair in this entire health care debate is that even though the employees might be getting good medical care, the employers are the one in a tough position.

If health care does take this reform, then many drastic changes can be expected in the future of small business. Business might split up and lay of people so one independent business would not have more than fifty employees. A general prediction is that the business can go on to fire people and thus increase joblessness around America. Another major strain on the economy can result from decreased salary to the employees who are working in these businesses.

Emile Durkheim was one of the sociologists who contributed his part to the effect of society on health and vice versa. His contribution was major when he talked about how social integration and cohesion make an impact on mortality. Thus, that is to say he attached social well being a health together in one bucket. (Berkman, Glass, Brissette & Seeman, 2000) Durkheim went on to state that the social norms, processes and structures were all glued together in a proper essence because of the individuals. He thought that the problem the humans faced was that they had a lot of desires but limited resources. This problem can be applied to the wishes that the government has when it comes to health care. They desire an equal and a medically stable health system for all the people yet the resources are still not available.

Parson's was the one to state that an illness of a single person should be medically treated as if it was a problem of the entire society. The model that he presented for a doctor and a patient however are not as simple as they are in the world today. His
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major concern was that health care should be a prominent feature in the society and how it enables for a person to not be caught under power. (Gerhardt, 1979) These go on to say that if the person is healthy, he will work to stabilize the society. He or she will not deviate from his roles and thus keep the society in equilibrium as well. Even though at the individual level, Parson's might be in favor the health care reform. However, with the impacts that were predicted, this reform might lead to deviance. The deviance therefore wouldn't result from a bad health but could be because the salaries are not what they used to be. Persons might be compelled to deviate in order to get paid more but still not have the same amount of health care.

Functionalism itself is stated as a theory that the society is like a living organism or a human being. The society is similar to a living system. All the factors just as the health sector, economy and families are linked to one another. Keeping this in mind, the health care reform might affect the relationships between all the different factors in the society. Let's say that the reform does take place and the all the people have good medical care. The health sector is taken care for but that ends up in damaging the economy. The business chooses to split up and thus cutting down their profits. Families are left distressed because people are laid off from work.

Another major concept of the functionalist theory is that a society and the people in it need it a goal or an objective. Certain goals need to be set and the human behavior has to be according to that. If we look into this then the health care reform is not necessarily a goal that the people themselves wanted. This reform is impose on the persons by the government at large so there is no prediction whether it can function peaceful way. As mentioned by Parsons, integration is a common aspect of the society. The persons have to feel as if they are part of an objective or the goal that they have to reach. The persons feel as if they are part of an institution and thus they wish to work in harmony. In this scenario, it is mentioned that the small business joined together to speak against this reform. This shows lack of integration and a definite lack of harmony.

A major concept of the functionalist theory is that the society is seen as an organism that is independent. It is present due to the relationships that people have rather than the persons themselves. The attitude, perceptions, beliefs and conformity of the individuals thus makes a healthy living society. A major look of the functionalists is that people experience a lot of pressure and constraints on the way they have to act. They feel that it is a moral and social responsibility for them to act a certain way. These hidden hands make the people act and their assigned duties and chores so that the society continues to work in equilibrium. Health care that was not equal was a hindrance and created problems for many people. People had to wait their turn and loose the quality of their life because of inadequate care. The needs of the society and the masses at large thus propel the government to come out ways to correct that.

The idea of the hidden hand and social constraints highlight yet another important concept of the society that there is nothing such as individual's choice. People don't always do what they want to but rather convert what they have to do into their desires. The stimuli around them thus propel them to respond and make convenient choices. The employers in this reform feel as if they are being pushed into this reform and that they don't have a choice as such.

Durkheim and…

Sources Used in Documents:


Berkman, L. et al. (2000) from social integration to health: Durkheim in the new millennium. Social Science & Medicine 51 (2000), 51 p.843-857.

Gerhardt, U. (1979) The Parsonian paradigm and the identity of medical sociology. The Sociological Review, 27 (2), p.229-251.

Napsha, J. (2011) Small Business Owners Fret over Health Care Law's Fallout . Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 24th March.

Unknown. (2012) Supreme Court Ruling Dooms Small Business; Obamacare Increases Taxes and Red Tape Burden . The Washington Times, 29th June.

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