U.S. Health Care System Is a Series Essay

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U.S. Health Care System is a series of geographically-determined networks. Established according to American beliefs and values, the system provides essentially two models of health care: the Market Justice Model, based on free enterprise and individual responsibility and ability/willingness to pay; the Social Justice Model, based on the public and equitable provision of basic health care services to all members. The two models are often in conflict with each other, with the Market Justice Model currently being the primary model.

Definition of a Health Care System

A "Health Care System" is commonly defined as "the complete network of agencies, facilities, and all providers of health care in a specified geographic area" (Mosby, 2008). Given that very broad definition, the United States has health care systems spanning such geographical areas as the entire nation, states, counties, cities, towns, villages and neighborhoods.

Implications of Beliefs and Values on a Health Care System

A society's value system, comprised of its beliefs and values, conditions its members about "what is desirable for that society" (Shi & Singh, 2010, p. 33). Consequently, that value system helps form the foundations of and perpetuate all that society's systems, including its health care system. Since the value system is deep-seated, fundamentally changing any established system, including an established health care system, is very difficult and requires "a consensus among Americans on basic values and ethics" (Shi & Singh, 2010, p. 34). Add to that people's natural resistance to change and their tendency to overvalue something they already "own" (Surowiecki, 2009), and we have a deeply-ingrained health care system that is extremely difficult to reform. America's health care system, for example, is primarily private-enterprise and market-driven, based on our beliefs and values (Shi & Singh, 2010, p. 46). In 2008, only 29% of likely voters rated the country's health care system "good or excellent" but after the announcement of health care reform, 48% rated that
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same system "good or excellent" (Surowiecki, 2009). As Surowiecki states, "the American health-care system didn't suddenly improve over the past eleven months. People just feel it's working better because they're being asked to contemplate changing it" (Surowiecki, 2009). In sum, beliefs and values, which comprise a society's value system, are vital to its health care system and strongly resist changes to that system.

Explanations and Examples of the Various Models of Health Care Delivery used in America

Two basic models of health care delivery are used in America. As mentioned above, one primary model is private-enterprise, market-driven health care. Chiefly funded by employer-based health insurance and/or private cash payments, the private model is based on the concept of "Market Justice" (Shi & Singh, 2010, p. 37). Market Justice can most simply be deemed "free enterprise," for Market Justice is based on the ideas that "market forces in a free economy can best achieve a fair distribution of health care" (Shi & Singh, 2010, p. 37). Market Justice operates on certain basic assumptions: health care is like any other good or service, so it can be effectively governed by the economic concepts of supply and demand; each individual is responsible for his/her own achievements and society is best served when the individual pursues his/her own best interests; the decision to purchase health care products and services is rational; with his/her doctors' help, the individual knows what is best for himself/herself; the less governmental interference, the better (Shi & Singh, 2010, p. 37). Stressing individuality, Market Justice health care focuses on how much a consumer can and will pay for health care goods and services at market prices (Shi & Singh, 2010, p. 37). Examples of ways in which the American health care system applies the Market Justice Model are: private practices; private institutions; provision of health care goods and services that the government would categorize as more-than-basic (e.g., elective surgery), which are privately funded through insurance and individual cash payments (Shi & Singh, 2010, p. 41).

In contrast to Market Justice health…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Daniels, N. (2001). Justice, health and health care. Retrieved on June 9, 2012 from www.hsph.harvard.edu Web site: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/benchmark/ndaniels/pdf/justice_health.pdf

Mosby. (2008). Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Shi, L., & Singh, D.A. (2010). Essentials of the U.S. Health Care System, 2nd ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Surowiecki, J. (2009, August 31). Status-quo anxiety. Retrieved on June 9, 2012 from www.newyorker.com Web site: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2009/08/31/090831ta_talk_surowiecki

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