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United States Healthcare

In: Business and Management

Submitted By cynthi88128
Words 1004
Pages 5
For US citizens covered by private health insurance, receiving treatment is not necessarily easy with many insurance contracts containing terms and conditions excluding treatments which would be covered under the NHS. This has led to scandals where individuals have died as a result of not reading the fine print on their insurance contracts a massive 21% of claims in California are rejected by private insurers. (Reuters 2011) The profit-driven running of companies that are essentially meant to provide coverage guaranteeing the maintenance of health has seen managers receiving salaries exceeding 13 million dollars compared with the NHS’s top salary of less than half a million US. Not covering an individual for expensive treatment thus saves the company money and provides stockholders with dividends or capital gain a very dangerous approach to the provision of healthcare coverage. An estimated 62% of individuals’ bankruptcies are related to healthcare bills, and of these,80% had health insurance numbers which would cause widespread revolt among Europeans. The private nature of US healthcare has resulted in pharmaceutical companies directly advertising to consumers the infamously endemic “ask your doctor if MagicMarioMix is suitable for you” tagline. Consumers thus ask their doctors about the advertised drug, and every 1 US dollar spent on advertising by pharmaceutical companies’ results in $4.20 of sales. The quick-fix or one-pill solution approach, rife among Americans, is reflected in the beliefs that pills can solve obesity rather than nutrition or exercise. The cost of drugs in America is much higher than in Germany: each citizen spends an average of 792US$ per year on medicine, accounting for more than 45% of the world’s total pharmaceuticals spending. Among Americans, the dissatisfaction with healthcare is reflected in polls, with one survey having 64% of respondents stated that US healthcare needed universal coverage and among the issues surrounding the American healthcare debate, universal coverage was the top issue. A further poll found 78% of Americans “dissatisfied with the cost of the nation's health care system, including 54% very dissatisfied”. Nonetheless, of those covered privately by health insurance 82% rated it positively- indicative of the good level of care the high average spending per citizen buys. (2012) Waiting lists for private treatment are rarely encountered and private ownership often translates into bigger budgets for individual clinics as well as the running of a ‘taut ship’. The incentive to reduce the illnesses and diseases of individuals covered also causes private health insurance companies to take proactive steps including regular checkups and screenings. The ethicality of rich people outliving their poorer brethren, of healthcare being a profit-driven enterprise makes the maintenance of such a system highly suspect–with President Obama pursuing the universal coverage provided by all other OECD countries except Mexico and Turkey(both with a much smaller gross national product than the US). The WHO has also ranked the US 37th among international healthcare systems–indicative of the failure of a private approach to healthcare.(2011) For patients covered by a private health insurance plan, costs are covered to a large extent by the insurance company and although premium rise as a result, the level of care provided is very high and waiting lists are rarely encountered. The fact that coverage costs individuals or their employers from several thousand dollars upwards per year in premiums does not seem to bother Americans - despite the free nature of healthcare in all other industrialized nations. Although private health insurance is available in European countries as well, it is reserved for the wealthy or those with conditions requiring more extensive or therapeutic care than can be provided under the public system i.e. a minority. For low-income or individuals not covered by any insurance plan, access to the healthcare is costly and avoided unless drastically necessary. The coexistence of various governmental programs–the S.C.H.I.P., the V.A., Medicaid/Medicare, as well as state-level programs leads to confusion among patients, who must first find out under which program they are eligible for health insurance. Not being able to access healthcare or not receiving healthcare to the required degree leaves patients in the worst possible state and so unless individuals have the fortune of having private health insurance, they face degrading conditions amounting to a violation 10of one of the fundamental human rights that is good health. The higher infant mortality for US citizens as well as an average lifespan that is on average an entire year less than that of UK citizens is a testament to the shortcomings patients face under the US system. The disparity between the wealthy (who can afford high quality healthcare) and the uninsured/poor (who cannot) is vast–the average lifespan of 78.1 is the average of long-living privately insured individuals and shorter-lived uninsured/poor individuals. For doctors, the US healthcare system does not provide practitioners with the legal backing that NHS doctors receive, and oftentimes doctors face lawsuits if their work is not meticulous. This ever-present threat of litigation often causes an overenthusiastic approach towards surgery or over-prescription of pharmaceuticals so as not to be accused of negligence. The extensive paperwork US doctors must file in order to receive payment from insurance companies results in considerable administrative fees compared to their UK counterparts. With hospitals in the US turning away sick individuals, the imperative to help those in need is often broken due to cost considerations at the expense of the psychic wellbeing of doctors. Furthermore, the expensive nature of treatment for uninsured or poor individuals compels them to wait until severe symptoms develop before visiting a doctor making the treatment much more extensive and high-priced than if it had been started at an earlier stage. Although a more detailed analysis follows, it should be stated that the average spending per citizen for the US citizen is more than double that of Germany, while life expectancy remains below that of these two European countries –indicating a systematic flaw within the US system. Si

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