The Accidental System Essay Research Paper Healthcare

The Accidental System Essay, Research Paper

Healthcare is an expensive and limited resource in the United States of America.

Healthcare currently accounts for one-seventh of the economy, approximately 1.3 trillion

dollars a year. ?The government spends about half, 75 million dollars, on programs like

Medicare and Medicaid to support the poor and elderly populations. While insurance

companies, out-of-pocket expenses, and charities account for the other half of health

costs? (Markus Nov. 27). Still, there are 43 million people without health insurance, 10

million of which are children. Children and adults in non-western countries enjoy a

national health program where everyone is covered by the government. However the

quality of healthcare received in the U.S. is higher when compared to those of European

countries. The United States is the only industrialized nation not to offer a nationalized

health care program to its citizens. Healthcare is a fundamental right of all people and

should be treated as a national responsibility rather than a marketable good.

The problem with the current health system is that access to coverage and services

has been compromised for large numbers of people, especially the poor and needy and

those with chronic health problems. Individuals and families have seen cutbacks in both

government and employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. Many workers are afraid

to change jobs for fear they will lose their health insurance. Many people are uninsured

because the premiums are too high and insurers prefer to enroll only the healthy. And

many small employers are priced out of the health care insurance market entirely. An

increased life expectancy, consumer demand for top quality health care; rising costs of

health providers and hospitals for medical equipment, nursing home care, prescription

drugs; increased costs of malpractice insurance; and extraordinary improvements in

medical technology have increased the overall cost of healthcare today. But the healthcare

system employed in the United States is structured such that it avoids the ?trilemma? of a

nationalized healthcare delivery system. The trilemma exists in the maintenance of costs,

access, and quality of care. The balance of the three opposing entities is difficult to sustain

with the implementation of a national healthcare delivery system similar to those practiced

in European countries like the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. Unlike other

industrialized nations that created their health insurance systems through specific

legislation, the U.S. employer-based, ?accidental? system is now the source of coverage

for more than 152 million Americans.

There are two main market perspectives prevalent in health care in America today.

They are free market competition and government regulation. Each approach offers

different costs and benefits, and there is much disagreement as to exactly what those costs

and benefits are. Most people believe that all people are deserving of health care as an

ethical human right and requiring government regulation because the current healthcare

market is not efficient enough to cover all people. The market system does not work

because there is a lack of information among consumer groups and a lack of equal

accessibility. Government regulation increases equity of access and injects the “values of

political accountability, public access to information, and public participation” (Patel 95).

The insurance industry that currently dominates the healthcare market is driven by market

forces and the pursuit of profit, which in turn has produced an interest in limiting the

accessibility of healthcare. Markets have centralized the goal of insurance companies

around profit-making which has caused insurance companies to under-write those with

pre-existing conditions or high risk people from coverage. The profit-making objective of

the healthcare economic market has lead to terribly high costs, and limited access to the

best available care in the world. The market system can flourish if their is an abundance of

healthcare suppliers, no monopolization of industry, a public informed of their care

options, and interchangeable goods within the healthcare market.

There are 43 million uninsured people an increase from 39 million last year. This

trend of declining health coverage needs to be reversed by making health insurance

affordable for hard-working, low-income families because they make up the largest

segment of the uninsured. With the absence of nationalized healthcare coverage the less

fortunate have a serious difficulty obtaining the care they need and deserve. I would

suggest government subsidies sufficient enough to provide a basic plan that includes

hospitalization and physician benefits, as well as discounted prescription drugs. It is my

belief that the massive codification of our health care system has made the accessibility and

costs less conducive to the needs of deserving Americans. Also I believe that the difficulty

of implementing reform to universal coverage is due in part, to the apathy among the

majority of people who are currently receiving health coverage. ?Two-thirds of the

American people say they favor universal coverage, but the minute you start to spell out

what that means — subsidization for the people who are poor and who are sick, and that

the plan has to be compulsory — they are less supportive? (Kolata 6). Most people are

less likely to support a program that does little in changing their own healthcare coverage

while increasing their taxes. The best way to open the avenues of healthcare coverage is

to reduce the amount of government regulation over state initiated inquiry into more

effective managed care regulation which would result in better 21st century health

management. Nonetheless there should be a social responsibility to provide health care to

everyone because it is something all people should care about and recognize as a problem

worth solving.


Patel, K, Rushefshy, M, Health Care Politics and Policy in America M.E. Sharpe, Inc.

Armonk, NY, 1995

Kolata, Gina (2000) “A conversation with Victor Fuchs: An economist’s view of

health care reform,” New York Times, May 2, Section F; p. 6.

Markus, Gregory B. Poltical Science 300 Lecture. University of Michigan, 27 November



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