New Ethical Dilemmas in Healthcare Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

3%) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared to only 41.5% of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8%) than Canadians (8.5%).

Atlas (2009) acknowledge that Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K. Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naive to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade (Fuchs & Sox, 2001). This is justifiable in the presented table showing the most important recent medical innovations, below. Hence, Atlas (2009) claim that the United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain.

According to" The U.S. Health Care System as an Engine of Innovation," 2004 Economic Report of the President, Coburn and Turner (2007); and Boehm (2005), the Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country. Since the mid-1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to American residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past 34 years did a scientist living in America not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

Therefore, according to Atlas (2009), despite serious challenges such as escalating costs and the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (2010), the United States continues to have difficulty bridging the gap between conceptualizing and creating a better-functioning healthcare delivery system. In such a situation, improving quality and reducing costs nationally, will require a fundamental redesign of both the systems of care delivery and payment for healthcare in the U.S. today. Therefore, the Association of American Medical Colleges proposes the creation and testing of a concept called the "healthcare innovation zone" (HIZ)which is designed to demonstrate that coordination of care, coupled with a multiple payer reimbursement model, will support more effective planning and delivery of care; and enable resources to be allocated where they can add the greatest value. The Association of American Medical Colleges claim that this demonstration will be large enough to demonstrate the efficacy of fundamental changes in the healthcare delivery and financing models that are needed to increase quality and reduce costs throughout the U.S.

Without new, more effective medicines along with new devices and diagnostic tools, and better treatments and surgical techniques, it will be impossible for larger numbers of Americans to obtain better health care at a manageable cost. Therefore, it is vital to all of us that we insist that reform proposals pass the "innovation test" because providing insurance to millions of Americans through a government-run plan would fail the test. Similar efforts around the world have led to rationing of health care and created hurdles between patients and the most advanced treatments. On the other hand, innovation would remain reasonably secure if universal access were achieved through tax credits and government subsidies that allow patients to choose from a variety of private health-financing options (Lechleiter, 2009).

Since people in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed (Atlas, 2009), curtailing health-care costs by allowing the federal government to dictate prices for branded medicines also would fail the test (Lechleiter, 2009). Therefore, U.S. government should adjust or do away with their price controls and some rebate requirements initiatives; which tend to be arbitrary and make it much harder for innovators to attract and recoup investments. This recommendation is so because, for the U.S. government part, private insurers and patients tend to control costs by insisting on value thus forcing companies to demonstrate how the effectiveness or broader savings generated by their product justifies its price hence that approach maintains the incentives for innovation and is yet another reason not to crowd out the free market (Lechleiter, 2009).


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