Universal Health Care System Also Termed as Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Universal health care system also termed as single-payer system in intended for all individuals irrespective of their financial standing. No procedure is considered perfect for the universal or single healthcare system. Several nations are adopting various procedures for attaining the objective of providing insurance facilities to its individuals. Soviet Union is considered as the premier nation engaged in guaranteeing the system of universal health care to its citizens. After prolonged efforts in the sphere of nationalization of medicines in the recent past, it is evident that no other countries practicing nationalization of medicines have accomplished so much achievement as that of Soviet Union. Several developed countries including Canada and UK have adopted the single universal health care system. (Cherner, 1990)

But in America, health care facilities as a matter of right is not granted to all its citizens and it is the only developed country to do so. (Frenkel, 1998)) Irrespective of the present expenditure to the tune of 14% of GNP on medical care, U.S. do not provide some sort of universal coverage. As per the reports of the World Health Organization, the huge uninsured population constituting about tens of millions is considered as one of the highest in comparison to any other developed nation. The quality of health care provisions also is moderate in comparison to other countries. Among the 181 WHO rankings U.S. is placed at 35 which is only two ranks above Cuba. Presently, the health insurance provisions are seen as a mix of private employment based insurance and government safeguard for the weaker sections in regard to due consideration to the elderly people. The Health insurance involves a multi-billion dollar dealings along with a strong backing. (Marks, 2003) As a consequence of this the United States puts forth gloomy data on health care among the other industrialized nations.

In comparison to Canada, the United State presents a bewildering rate of child death, high surgical death and low life span. (Nelson, 2003) The span of life increases with enhanced medical facilities. It is forecasted that increasing number of Americans are susceptible to chronic diseases of old age and will necessitate prolonged home care and in most of the cases will necessitate prolonged institutionalized care. However, it is evident that the country is not prepared to effectively handle this possible occurrence. No policy formulators ever think of the inevitable occurrences and the growing requirements which Medicare and Social Security face. Still the problem is inevitable with growing population. Presently, the long-term care is met out of the personal savings or by Medicaid that assists only the eligible population in terms of lower income and assets. The private insurance on the other hand seems to assist only a fraction of the population estimated to be about seven percent of the total necessitating prolonged care. (Cadette, 2004)

The deficiencies in universal health care seem to threaten the public health scenario. The health conditions left unattended more specially, the contagious and infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV infection more often spreads from personal confinements to become more costly and fatal public exigencies. The lack of a system emphasizing on universal health care is viewed as incremental in the price of the health care of every individual in America. This is so because the uninsured people are deprived of the low-cost preventive services of early intervention and left untreated up to the point of time till which it is generated to become expensive. These uninsured individuals are subject to non-reimbursable medical needs in the hospitals with enhancement of costs of health care for everyone. Besides, the prevalence of multiplicity of the health insurers entails the provision of health care costly, in terms of huge administrative expenses necessitating costly operating expenses, unnecessary paper work and maintenance of costly billing departments. (Universal Health Care: June 2001 Summary of Recommendations)

In comparison to Canada, the United States depicts a low rate of accessibility to primary care doctors than Canada. However, Canada represents the same proportion of acute care bed to population as that of in United States. According to U.S. General Accounting Office, in terms of gratification by the patients, quality of health care and end results, Canada seems to excel in health care system in comparison to United States. Americans usually are charged 40% less per capita than that of the Canadians. It has been estimated that more than 240 million people in the United States have already been covered by the health insurance in United States through different sources. About 63% of them have been covered by the insurers of their family members. A million more people are covered by the government programs and approximately 14% of the citizens are covered through the Medicare. It has been estimated that about 11% are insured through Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the military programs cover about 3%. More or less 8% of the people resort to private individual health care or health insurance. Irrespective of these facts still a million people do not seem to have health insurance coverage. (Nelson, 2003)

According to the report of the year 2000 by the U.S. Census Bureau, about 15.5% of the total population constituting 42.6 million Americans was lacking public or private health care coverage in the year 1999. The report further emphasized that irrespective of the Medicaid and the federal state health care program for poor, handicapped and old about one third of the all the poor population are left without assured health care. The mass includes a portion of adult population, housed or homeless without having children and poor families. According to a report on the study by the federal Interagency Council on the Homeless made in the year 1999 it has been estimated that more than 55% of people are deprived of both public and private health care provisions. Most of the projects on Health Care of the Homeless (HCH) emphasizes that about 80% of their patients are left uninsured. Irrespective of coming out of the network of community-bases health care providers inclusive of HCH projects, health centers, free clinics and public hospitals, only one sixth of total uninsured population seems to have been served by them. (Universal Health Care: June 2001 Summary of Recommendations)

And those people who do not have health Insurance are vulnerable to increasing risks of financial loss and inadequacy in health care access. Broadly speaking, lack of insurance coverage hinders effective use of health care facilities and services and leads to higher expenditure on medical programs. Several measures have been undertaken by the policy formulators for enhancing the health insurance coverage, in terms of extension of the tax inducements to the individuals and employers, expansion of Medicaid and SCHIP, reformation of rules regulating private insurance and making the employers mandatory to offer health coverage. Formulation of cost effective policies with regard to expansion of the health coverage necessitates data on the size and features of the uninsured people. This is due to the fact that many people seem to gain and loose coverage in due course as a part of their uninsured spells. The number of uninsured citizen in United States has increased to 40 million constituting about 16% of the non-elderly population. (Nelson, 2003)

However, such estimate is considered to be overestimations of the uninsured people through out the year and is only an approximation of the number of people at a point of time. The most reliable data in this regard is available up to the year 1998 which depicts that 21 million to 31 million non-elderly Americans constituting 9 to 13% are estimated to be uninsured. The trend of relationship between uninsured people at a particular point of time and that of the population uninsured through out the year seem not to have changed prominently, however, since the year 1992, the factors attributed to the inferences are very limited. A comparison of the data is attempted in the study of SIPP data revealing that about 14.8% of Americans including the elderly were uninsured at a point of time in 1992 while 7.6% were uninsured through out the year. However, the SIPP figures depicted about two-to-one ratio in the year 1998 which is 16.6% versus 9.1%. (Nelson, 2003)

The survey reports depicting the number of Medicaid coverage collected through primary data seems to be lesser than the number indicated by the program administration. It is also not transparent about the fact of the size and implications for estimates of uninsured which is graver than the fact of undercount. The fact of underreporting of Medicaid coverage seems to occur for various factors. The dishonor attached to the fact of involvement in a public assistance program dissuades the people reporting correctly about their coverage. Moreover, the people covered under Medicaid wrongly think of availability of another type of coverage like private insurance. The misinterpretation of the people covered under the Medicaid program is due to the fact of ambiguity in the designation of the programs by the private plans or absence of the terminology…

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