The United States has a health policy that does not guarantee its citizenry quick and affordable access to medical care on a universal basis. Other developed nations have developed healthcare systems where basic healthcare is provided to each of the citizens through the taxes that they pay.The system of the United States has not been able to provide to its entire citizenry a basic package of health care at an affordable cost, and a large portion of the US population finds itself locked out of basic healthcare services. One of the reasons why the United States has been unable to achieve universal health care for all its citizens has had to do with the way the delivery system is fragmented (Shi & Singh, 2012, p 2). There are multiple routes to the delivery of the healthcare plans, and this has created a disjointed healthcare policy, hence all the citizens are not guaranteed top-notch healthcare. Yet another reason why the US has not been able to provide universal health care to all its citizens is the fact that the overhead costs of expanding the healthcare plan to include every citizen would be enormous.
The healthcare of the US has shifted its focus from being an exclusively curative system to a system that also places considerable emphasis on preventive care. This has been manifested in the way that employers are spearheading the campaign to promote employee health. Employers have taken to proactively identify employees, as well as dependents who have health risk factors, and then they promote strategies which reduce health risk factors. The campaigns involved include cessation of smoking, stress management and weight reduction(Shi & Singh, 2012, p 335). Hospitals have also incorporated programs that are aligned to prevention and wellness, which include the same programs which employers crusade for.
Science and technology have played an invaluable role in transforming the medical profession into a legitimate profession. The improvements seen in the medical field came about after the civil war, when the US economy transformed from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy. The mass migration of people from the countryside into the cities created the need for specialized professionals to attend to the sick people, whose family members could no longer attend to because of the distance. Science-based medicine heightened the need for cutting-edge medicine, which family and neighbors could no longer provide. Moreover, there were new discoveries in the field of antiseptic surgery, bacteriology, immunology, anesthesia, diagnostic techniques and new, effective drugs also helped establish the medical profession as a legitimate profession(Shi & Singh, 2012, p 59). Moreover, the emphasis placed on the use of technology for healthcare created the need for specialization. This had a side-effect to it, because it led to a reduction in the numbers of healthcare professionals who offered general health care.
Cutting-edge technologies have been castigated for significantly increasing healthcare costs. It is, however, notable that many of these frontline technologies have actually reduced healthcare costs. Such technologies as lithotripsy, valvuloplasty, endoscopic lasers and peripheral vascular angioplasty have actually reduced medical costs by replacing more expensive forms of treatment(Shi & Singh, 2012, p 119). Minimally invasive surgeries have also reduced medical costs, albeit indirectly. This is because they have reduced the need for admissions and overnight hospital stays, which always cost extra money. Moreover, the need for hospitalization has been dramatically reduced, hence reducing the overall costs of healthcare owing to hospitalization. This is attributable to such therapies as antiretroviral drugs, which have reduced the need for admitting AIDS patients, and antidepressants and antipsychotics, which have reduced the costs associated with inpatient psychiatric care. All these are means through which technology has dramatically reduced the cost of healthcare in the US.