United States’ health care, is provided by many legal entities. Health care facilities in the country, is owned and operated largely by the private sector. Health insurance is the main provider of the funding for healthcare in the private sector, with the high exception of programs including Medicare, TRICARE, Medicaid, the Children's Insurance Program and the Health Administration for Veterans (Altman & Levitt, 2003). At least 15.3% of the country’s population is uninsured as per the latest results, and statistics and the country holds a substantial portion of the population estimated at 35% that is "underinsured", or without the ability to cover the costs of their healthcare needs (Bob, 2008). More money per individual in United States is spent on health care than in any other regions across the world, with a greater percentage of income of individuals in the nation spent mainly on health care in the country than in any member of the United Nations state with an exemption of East Timor (Bob, 2008). Despite the fact that not all people are covered, the country has the third highest healthcare expenditure per capita in the public healthcare sector. From a 2001 study in five states across United States, it was revealed that medical debts added to at least 62% of all personal bankruptcies in the country. This paper discusses the national health care spending in the United States detailing all contents of the healthcare provision.
The country’s level of current national health care expenditures estimates at approximately 16% of the country’s GDP (Altman & Levitt, 2003). The Department of Human and Health Services expects that the share of GDP used in health will continue its upward trend, and would be reaching 19.5% of by 2017 as per the projections (Bob, 2008). This is in percentage of each dollar spent on medical care provision in the United States with at least 31% going to hospital care, 21% going to physician services, 10% being spent on pharmaceutical, 8% spent on nursing homes, 7% set aside for administrative costs, and an estimated 23% to all categories other than the named above this being (pharmacies, diagnostic laboratory services, and medical device manufacturers).
The Office of the Actuary (OACT) for Medicaid and Medicare Services publishes data on health care spending in total for the country, including both levels in history and future projections (Healing daily). In year 2007, the country spent $2.26 trillion on caring for the in patients or relatively estimated at $7,439 per person, which was up from $2.1 trillion the previous year (Altman & Levitt, 2003). Spending in 2006 was a representation of 16% of GDP, which revealed a 6.7% increase over 2004 spending. Growth in spending on healthcare is projected to be at least 6.7% annually over the 2007 period through to 2017 projections.
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Looking at the statistics and projections as revealed in the United States spending, it is evident that this is too much compared to the fact that the healthcare can be provided at a lower cost. The spending is generally way of the limit, and as many economists say, it is too much (Bob, 2008). Health care spending in the country has continued outpacing the growth in income and the growth in other countries’ spending yet many citizens in the country are without sufficient medical care. Since the failure of health care reform proposals that, was proposed by the Clinton administration and supported by others, the country has had to look for alternative solutions to the huge problem of the way they can control spending in the health sector (Bob, 2008). The Congressional Budget Office report indicated that "about half of the growths espoused in health care spending in the past 2 decades, were associated with reforms in medical care that were possible by technology advances (Altman & Levitt, 2003)." Other factors are among others changes in insurance, higher income levels, and rising prices. It is out of this that the assumptions can be made in that the spending is too much as other departments in the country’s economy are malfunctioning due to inadequate funds for instance the food industry (Bob, 2008). The overspending comes in with the fact that prescription drugs that are available everywhere, are being used too much by the adults.
It can also be argued that the spending is too high given the fact that the international spending levels of year 2000 indicated U.S. spends more on medical care than other countries yet the use of the same medical care services in the country is below the OECD median. The authors of the study revealed that the prices paid for medical care services are much higher in the country with Medicaid and Medicare programs being, espoused as the main reason for increasing health care costs in the country (Bob, 2008). The overspending comes in also when looking at the overall spending bearing in mind that it is concentrated (Altman & Levitt, 2003). From the latest analysis in year 1996 and 2002, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey revealed that only 1% of the population practicing the highest spending was in account of 27% of aggregate medical care spending. The highest-spending 5% of the people accounted for at least over a half of the healthcare spending (Bob, 2008).
The nation needs to cut these costs and strategize on the way forward to redeem the sector. The nation needs to lower rates in the insurance covers and introduce favorable ways of making sure that the spending is, lowered. This is because, the nation needs to build its economy and avoid some sectors from collapsing while still maintaining an exceptional level of national healthcare provision.
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It is apparent that the public health care needs are, paid in different means, and they represent a certain percentage of the total expenditures (Bob, 2008). The expenditures vary with an estimated 84.7% of citizens having some form of insurance; either paid by their employer or the spouse or parent’s employer taking (59.3%), individually purchased (8.9%), or government programs (27.8%). All government programs have limited eligibility, and there is no health insurance company for the government that covers all citizens (Altman & Levitt, 2003). Americans without medical insurance coverage in year 2007 totaled an estimated 15.3% of the country’s population, or roughly 45.7 million people. In year 2004, private insurance took care of 36% of health expenditures, with the out-of-pocket taking 15%, state and local governments 11%, federal government 34%, and other funds from the private sector paying 4%. Due to "an inefficient and dishonest system" that inflates bills sometimes to ten times the real cost, even patients who are, insured can be billed more than the ideal cost of their care (Healing daily).
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Most Americans (59.3%) have their health insurance coverage paid by their employer (which incorporates both private and civilian public-sector employees) ideally under group coverage, even though the percentage is going down. Government programs also pay for the insurance as they cover an estimated 27.8% of the country’s population estimated to be 83 million that includes the elderly, veterans, disabled, children, and some of the poor (Healing daily). On the same note, the federal law mandates access to emergency services by the public regardless of ability to pay (Robert, Kim & John, 2001).
With the up surging rates of the health care, it is evident that the future economic needs of the health care system would sky rocket within an unusually short period (Robert, Kim & John, 2001). Costs for employer-paid insurance are on the rise rapidly: since year 2001, premiums for coverage of the family have increased 78%, with wages rising by 19% and inflation up surging to 17%, according to a study in 2007 by the Kaiser Family Foundation (Healing daily). Workers having employer-sponsored insurance are also contributors with a report in 2007 indicating the average percentage of paid premium as being 16% for single coverage and an estimated 28% for family coverage. There is therefore an indication that, without the control of spending, the economic needs in the future will be high particularly for emergencies and severe disease (Healing daily). The inflation rate is also on the increase and could affect the economy in due time bringing down the ability of the health sector to sustain itself (Robert, Kim & John, 2001). Therefore, these needs must be addressed, and this should be done on time to salvage the situation (Altman & Levitt, 2003). The needs need to be addressed to avoid the sky rocketing of prices as well as inflation levels for the health care in the country to hold as afforded to the public and instill control on the private sector (Robert, Kim & John, 2001).
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The financing of the healthcare needs in the future will not be a problem with the strategies being, put in place. The Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act (Public Law 111-148) is a medical care reform bill signed into law in the country by President Obama early on March 23, 2010. Along with the Act of medical Care and Education Reconciliation of 2010 the Acts hold as a product of the medical care reform agenda of the 111th Congress in collaboration with the Obama administration (Healing daily). This is a powerful strategy that will help in the future health care provision, in the country. The law includes health-related provisions that will take effect over the four years term that include the expansion of Medicaid eligibility for the population making up to 133% of the FPL. It will be helpful in subsidizing insurance premiums that make up to 400% of FPL, provide incentives for organizations to provide health care benefits, prohibit denial of coverage as well as denial of claims on preexisting conditions. Therefore, there is a better future is the plan is in place within the stipulated time (Bob, 2008).
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