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Impact of Current Reforms on Healthcare Costs - Research Paper Example

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Impact of Current Reforms on Healthcare Costs Healthcare in the United States is one of the best in the world and keeping up such immaculate standards has proved difficult in the last few decades due to decreasing incomes, varied categories of beneficiaries, unemployment, and particularly due to the economic recession per se…
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Impact of Current Reforms on Healthcare Costs
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Download file to see previous pages When the expenditure on health per capita is compared with other OECD (Organization for Economic cooperation and Development) countries, United States of America stands head and shoulders above the rest at $ 7,538 as per the current figures (Kaiser, Web). The standard used by economists to evaluate a country’s financial health is GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which is a periodically updated indicator of prosperity. A relational comparison of healthcare expenditure with the GDP can therefore illustrate the financial burden it exercises on the government. In fact, in layman’s language, per capita GDP translates into the ability of a citizen to pay for his or her healthcare needs (Reinhardt, 2008). Healthcare expenditure in the US has risen from 9% of the GDP to 16% through the years 1980 to 2008 (Kaiser, Web). Moreover, US ranks at the top amongst OECD countries when health expenditure and GDP per capita are taken into account. The annual growth rate of health expenditure is likewise much higher than other developed countries when the data for the last forty years is analyzed. Surprisingly, despite this high expenditure, the country is unable to provide greater health resources to its citizens, or achieve better benchmarks of healthcare as compared to countries that spend less on healthcare (Kaiser, Web). The primary reasons for excess spending on healthcare within the United States and the relatively low achievement of healthcare benchmarks as compared to other OECD countries have been explained to be due to higher prices of healthcare goods and services, higher administrative overhead costs, widespread use of high-tech equipment/procedures and higher treatment costs due to unique tort laws within the country (Reinhardt, 2008). In order to understand the factors underlying the high cost of healthcare within the United States, it is essential to dissect the manner in which healthcare has been administered in the better part of the last century when US dominated the international economic scenario. Unlike other developed nations in the continent as well as in Europe, US policymakers did not favor a state run universal healthcare system and cost of healthcare were mostly met through the private insurance sector and contributions by the private companies for their employees (Vladeck, 2003). Medicare in the country has been traditionally expensive and the insurance sector hitherto covered the costs for all US citizens. Universal healthcare was impracticable due to difficulties envisaged in the implementation of a single nation-wide program due to the vastness of the country, diversity in climate, regional uniqueness of healthcare needs, a wide diasporas of ethnic populations’ and administrative complications associated with such a venture. Moreover, historically, the divergent views of national and state health policymakers placed roadblocks in the implementation of universal healthcare. This is not the case in other OECD countries which are smaller, have ethnic uniformity and are easy to administer. Private Health Insurance companies and large corporate hospitals have been the providers of healthcare in the US for most parts of the twentieth century. Economists and corporate heads have been unified in their consensus that this healthcare system was the only feasible one for a country with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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