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United States health care - Essay Example

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Considering the nature of the defined problem it seems that the US would benefit from the implementation of a social medical insurance system. Such a healthcare reform proposal was forwarded by Senator Clinton, only to meet with an uproar and outright rejection. …
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United States health care
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Download file to see previous pages Considering the nature of the defined problem it seems that the US would benefit from the implementation of a social medical insurance system. Such a healthcare reform proposal was forwarded by Senator Clinton, only to meet with an uproar and outright rejection. Consequent to the absence of either, not only does the United States stand out as unique in the midst of other Western democracies but as different from the majority of countries. Most countries have adopted those aspects of the welfare state system which outline the provision of healthcare, among other services, as a right of citizenship and a duty of states (Starr, 1984). While the United States has opted for a privatized healthcare system and stands form against the concept of social medicine, the ever escalating numbers of the uninsured highlight the imperatives of expanding the Medicare and the Medicaid systems to include the uninsured.Social medicine, or socialized healthcare, is the primary healthcare delivery paradigm in a vast majority of democracies, including the United Kingdom. According to Starr (1984), within the context of socialized medicine, a single institution, funded by taxpayer money, provides for the healthcare needs of all citizens, including the provision of emergency and non emergency surgery. Membership in this system, implying access to all levels of healthcare, when and if needed, is a right of citizenship. Consequently, as is the case with Great Britain, all citizens have public healthcare overage.
Socialized medicine and public healthcare coverage are founded on the principle of equality. Maintaining that citizens should not be distinguished one from the other as regards their ability to access basic, and imperative, services such as education and healthcare, this system extends all citizens, irrespective of their socio-economic status, equal access to healthcare (Starr, 1984). Consequently, within this system, all citizens are regarded as having healthcare coverage and all are awarded equal access to healthcare.
The United States has opted for a privatized healthcare system, rather than a socialized, public one. As Smith (2005) explains, this means that citizens are extended private healthcare insurance through employee benefit programs, whereby employers pay the full or the partial cost of medical insurance or by paying the premiums themselves. In other words, citizens are not covered by the state but chose from any number of HMO's and healthcare coverage plans, following from which they pay the insurance themselves. If, however, their healthcare is included within their employee benefits package, as is often the case, the employer selects the HMO and the healthcare insurance plan.
The primary problem with the US healthcare system is a significant number of citizens are not covered. The unemployed, part-time workers and minimum wage employees are, needless to say, not covered through employee benefits programs, with the implication being that they have to pay for their own healthcare insurance. This last is highly problematic because by the very nature of their employment situation, they cannot afford the cost of healthcare. The outcome, as touched upon in the preceding, is that a significant and ever increasing number of America citizens are not insured.
The number of uninsured American citizens comprises an important indicator of the magnitude of the nation's healthcare problem. As noted in a Modern Healthcare (2006) publication, in 2001, 14.6% of the population was uninsured. In 2004 this figure had risen by 1%, so that the total number of Americans without coverage had reached the 45 million mark, inclusive of which is over 8 million children ( By the numbers,' 2006). Commenting on these figures, Zigmund (2006) notes that thy are indicative of the fact that a significant proportion of the population does not have access to healthcare when, and if, needed. Accordingly, in direct comparison to the United Kingdom's socialized ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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