From my point of view, the major issues in health care today are its cost, overuse and misuse of medical services. My choice is based on the simple fact that anyone facing a health problem should be able to afford medical care in the first place. This becomes an issue for low and moderate income people. Health insurance plans do help – yet, to some extent only. Today health insurance does not guarantee that a family with low incomes can afford needed care.
For example, a survey of health care affordability conducted in the United States in 2014 revealed growing concern over health care financial burdens. The survey findings showed that more than two of five (43 percent) privately insured adult people with deductibles see them as “somewhat, very difficult or even impossible to afford” (Collins, Rasmussen, Michelle, Doty & Beute, 2014, p.4). And two of five adults with high deductibles reported that because of those deductibles they “had not gone to the doctor when sick, did not get a preventive care test, skipped a recommended follow-up test, or did not get needed specialist care” (Collins et al., 2014). In other words, 40 percent of these people cannot do anything about their health problems.
Overuse and misuse of the services go in the wake of the cost issue. Applications of health care resources without real justification together with misuse of services naturally raise the cost and lower the overall quality of health care. Experts acknowledge that about as much as 30% of all U.S. health care spending is of no benefit for the patient and some of it happens to be even harmful. That is, in one case out of three a person visiting a doctor pays more than is really needed and/or the result of the treatment is negative.
These and other health care issues should be made public as a way to find a solution. Campaigns like Choosing Wisely engaging both patients and providers in a dialog may prove to be a good example to follow.
- Berwick DM & Hackbarth AD (2012). Eliminating waste in U.S. health care. Journal of the American Medical Association, 307(14), 1513-1516. Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1148376
- Collins, S.R., Rasmussen, P. W., Michelle M. Doty, M.M., & Beute, S. (2014). Too high a price:
Out-of-pocket health care costs in the U.S. Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Health Care Affordability
- Tracking Survey, September–October 2014, 4. Retrieved from http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/publications/issue-brief/2014/nov/1784_collins_too_high_a_price_out_of_pocket_tb_v2.pdf
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