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Awaiting Health Laws Prognosis - Article Example

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In the United States the healthcare system is controlled by the medical insurance companies. These companies are paying the majority of the medical bills invoiced by hospitals and healthcare providers. A major controversy in…
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Awaiting Health Laws Prognosis
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Healthcare is a basic necessity all human beings need. In the United s the healthcare system is controlled by the medical insurance companies. These companies are paying the majority of the medical bills invoiced by hospitals and healthcare providers. A major controversy in the past was the imposition of lifetime benefit limits by healthcare plans. These limits were often negotiated between the employer and health insurance companies to cap out the total benefits a person could receive in a lifetime. It was common for a lot of these lifetime limits to exceed one million dollars. The majority of the population was not affected by these limits; because even though healthcare is getting more expensive everyday it is uncommon for a human to need over a million dollars in medical treatments over their lifetime. Despite this premise there are certain catastrophic illnesses such as cancer and hemophilia whose medical treatment costs are astronomical. For instance in 2010 Alex All clotting medicine treatment costs $800,000 to treat his hemophilia condition.
The new legislation has eliminated the lifetime limit coverage heath plans were imposing on subscribers. This new governmental policy will help thousands of patients who have serious illnesses that require expensive treatments. It will provide them the opportunity to get the health treatment they need without the worry that the plan will cut them off after a certain cap threshold. The quality of life of these patients will greatly improve as result of the new policy. The implication of the policy does have economic consequences for the healthcare market as a whole. Some of these catastrophic illnesses have costs that are so high that they could have a severe impact in the medical cost inflation rate in the United States. Take for example Alex’s condition. He is only 22 years old. If he lives to be 80 years of age the total cost of his treatment over the next 58 years will be $54.4 million assuming the treatment costs stays constant. This assumption is not realistic due to the fact the US medical costs inflation rate is 3.6% which implies the medical the accumulative medical expenses are likely to exceed $100 million over the patients lifetime (Forecast-chart, 2011).
The lifetime medical caps prior to the policy change were a cost control mechanism that was very effective. The market efficiency is disrupted by the implementation of the policy. The new rules of the game are going to have an inflationary effect in the long term as these catastrophic patients are going to receive thousands of times more medical care than what they are paying for the medical plan. The policy will have consequences for regular people. Some of the consequences include higher medical premiums, potential elimination of benefits, and lower medical coverage. The medical plans are going to pay for the catastrophic patients ongoing bills by taking medical coverage away from the healthier people. This situation is a bit unfair since a small number of patients are going to be draining the resources away that can be used to provide health care to millions of people.
References
Abelson, L. (2011). Awaiting Health Law Prognosis. New York Times.
Forecash-chart.com (2011). US Inflation Rate Forecast. Retrieved September 17, 2011 from http://forecast-chart.com/forecast-inflation-rate.html Read More
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