Health Care Debate As the Thesis
Excerpt from Thesis :
Drug costs have gone from 26% of health care spending by private insurance companies in 1990 to 44% in 2006 (Kaiser Foundation, 2008). This issue has not been adequately addressed by health care reform. Instead, a deal appears to be made for $80 billion in concessions from the pharmaceutical industry in exchange for its support of health care reform (Kirkpatrick, 2009).
The underlying trend in each of these major issues in health care reform is controlling the rising cost. Malpractice reform seeks to control the cost of insurance to health care providers, so that they can pass those savings along to consumers. The public option provides a plan for affordable health care coverage for uninsured and underinsured Americans. This is deemed necessary because private insurers will not offer insurance to those it feels will demand too much in terms of health care costs going forward. Reducing the cost of health care will enable not only the public option to succeed but also will enable the insurance companies the ability to better compete with the public option. Coverage for preventative measures will reduce the health care costs associated with poor lifestyle choices and a lack of preventative care in the system at present.
However, the weakness in the health care reform is that is fails to address drug costs, which are among the fastest-growing costs in the health care system. This is a complex issue, and is only partly dealt with under the components of reform concerning malpractice and prevention. While health care reform addresses one cause of rising health care costs in hospitals -- malpractice risk -- it fails to address in a meaningful way the rapidly rising cost of prescription drugs.
Health care reform is a holistic approach to improving
health care coverage for Americans while simultaneously lowering the cost of health care. The key components of health care reform reflect the concerns over the rising cost of health care either directly or indirectly. Insurance companies, for example, reduce coverage as their margins are squeezed by costs that are ultimately associated with poor prevention and lifestyle choices, the high cost of malpractice insurance and the overprescription of drugs. As such, the health care reform effort is driven largely by a need to reform the system in ways that will reduce the overall cost burden. Even the controversial public option will change the competitive dynamic of the insurance industry to the point where cost reductions are forced through the removal of bureaucratic barriers, stronger negotiations by insurance companies with providers over cost and other initiatives. Without these cost reductions, health care reform will likely prove ineffective. Skyrocketing costs will put pressure on both public and private insurance options. This is the reason for the holistic approach to health care reform that has been currently tabled. Each component works in concert with the other components to result in meaningful reform that lowers the cost of health care, thus improving access to Americans, results in better outcomes for doctors no longer practicing defensive medicine and increased efficiency from both insurance providers and health care practitioners.
Carey, Nick. (2009). Uninsured Americans hope reform brings health coverage. Reuters. Retrieved October 7, 2009 from http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE58F0NO20090916
The White House. (2009). The Obama Plan: Stability and Security for All Americans. Retrieved October 7, 2009 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/obama_plan_card.PDF
New York Times. (2009). Malpractice and Health Care Reform. New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2009 from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/opinion/17wed2.html
Kaiser Family Foundation. (2008). Prescription Drug Trends. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved October 7, 2009 fromhttp://www.kff.org/rxdrugs/upload/3057_07.pdf
Kirkpatrick, David. (2009). White House affirms deal on drug cost. New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2009 from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/health/policy/06insure.html
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