paper - America's healthcare system-more appropriately put...

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America’s healthcare system—more appropriately put, America’s “health-care mess” (Moral Haz 2)—is an “accident of history” (2). The current piecemeal of private and public elements has developed haphazardly from its inception as a fringe benefit during the World War II economy (Reagan 20). Decades later, the United States faces the challenges of improving upon the inadequacies of a system that leaves 45 million (Moral Haz 4) citizens without coverage and that fails to control the exorbitant costs of healthcare. Despite the political barriers and the tendency of the political system to maintain the status quo, the intrinsic flaws of current policy necessitate overcoming these obstacles to adopt fundamental change in the form of a universal single-payer system. The problem posed by the uninsured in the United States exceeds the basic lack of insurance for 15% percent (Brown and Sparer 87) of citizens. The uninsured impose costs on other parts of the healthcare system, resulting in cost implications for others (CITE lecture). By lacking the means to have routine medical check-ups and procedures, the uninsured often are forced to rely on care received in the emergency rooms of local hospitals. Not only does the burden of paying for this care fall on tax-payer dollars, but this acute care also comes at a higher price than the price of routine preventative services (Urbina 10). In addition, the health of the uninsured jeopardizes the health of others who may become sick from daily interactions with uninsured people who cannot afford to manage their illnesses. If the risks born by the uninsured threaten the collective health of the community, one might ask why nothing is done to alleviate the problem. Unfortunately, the incongruous and unorganized nature of the uninsured leaves them, on the whole, as a latent public with little political sway. In order to improve the current American healthcare system, it is necessary to understand the strengths and weaknesses of current policies. Healthcare is largely based on employer-based
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private insurance with public insurance programs to help cover the elderly, poor, and disabled members of society. The current policy coincides with the ideological beliefs of an individualistic nation that prides itself on its adoption of a laissez-faire system. Only those not covered through an employer or an individual health insurance plan fall within the realm of the public insurance programs regulated jointly by the federal and state governments. The current policy also coincides with the institutional framework of policymaking. As evidenced by the expansion of Medicaid and the SCHIP program, the American political system favors incremental change (Brown and Sparer 79). It allows for policymakers to work within budgetary restraints and add new benefits or expand coverage to a subset of the population (Brown and
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This note was uploaded on 04/01/2008 for the course CH 0002 taught by Professor Mckissick during the Spring '08 term at Tufts.

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paper - America's healthcare system-more appropriately put...

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