Discussion Question Post: Policy and Environmental Issues

The United States has one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the World and is unaffordable to numerous people. While healthcare financing is mostly done through insurance, medical insurance costs are prohibitive (Cai et al., 2020). At the same time, certain insurance schemes require the insured to make co-payments when treatment is received. The cost of healthcare also prevents numerous people from accessing prescription medicines. Medical insurance covers some but not all prescription drugs. The costs of such medications, in most instances, are exorbitant. Healthcare financing in the United States, as it is, is therefore ineffective in ensuring quality patient care and positive health outcomes (Cai et al., 2020). Many people cannot afford health services, thus avoiding going to hospitals or filling prescription medicines. This can have potentially fatal outcomes.

To reform the healthcare system, the government needs to get more involved. Ambitious laws are required to govern health services with the primary objective of making healthcare affordable to everyone. Through legislation, for instance, the government can reduce the costs of prescription medicine and the cost of access to healthcare services (Cai et al., 2020). This would make healthcare more affordable to a vast majority of the country, whether insured or not. It would also make life-saving prescription drugs accessible.

Government involvement could have a positive impact on the accessibility of healthcare. However, it may not be acceptable to a majority of stakeholders. The American healthcare system is based on a free-market economic model. To date, this model in the healthcare system has benefited the rich at the expense of the poor and is responsible for the inaccessibility of healthcare services. As such, government intervention is best placed to balance the interest of stakeholders and those of the public.

References

Cai C, Runte J, Ostrer I, Berry K, Ponce N, et al. (2020) Projected costs of single-payer healthcare financing in the United States: A systematic review of economic analyses. PLOS Medicine 17(1): e1003013. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003013

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