Health Care Cost

Health care is a major concern among nations making it one of the most funded outlays in government expenditure. Ideally, health care funds should be approximated in such a way that it provides full insurance to its constituents.

For instance, a government collects taxes from the people and from these taxes allocates budget to a variety of outlays, one being health care. Funding for such expense should be planned in order to provide large populations wide access to health care.

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With this in mind, it is perceived that financing health care follows a careful and well-planned process in order to ensure that funds ascertain to its fullest the purpose of health care. How is this being done? We will find out in the following sections of this piece. Historical trends in financing health care will be laid out and its impact to stakeholders identified.

The United States established Medicaid and Medicare – two health care insurance programs specifically targeting the underprivileged, elderly, and disabled, in short, distinctive populations. Initially, financing Medicaid followed a community-based model.

This means funds are granted to states and local levels for allocating to citizens’ health care services needs and spending decisions are independent from the federal level. The state and local levels are in charge of determining health-related needs of the community in order to decide for which purpose funds will be allocated. (Buck, 2003)

Other trends identified by Buck (2003) are focusing on widening access to health care services by targeting citizens without health care insurance, framing state health care programs by adapting private health financing trends, and shifting funds from state or local levels to the federal level to provide overall national health care needs.

Aside from focusing on the structure of health care programs and the need for providing health care access to the nation, financing health care might also be directed towards the improvement of health care facilities and technology.

For instance, adapting information technology in health care facilities to speed up the process of storing, exchanging, and transferring significant information, or funding the establishment of new hospitals or clinic to accommodate large populations, and other tangible health care needs is one way of allocating funds for the improvement of the field of health care. (HFMA, 2007)

Setting aside the usual health care necessities such as insurance and other concrete requirements, another trend for financing health care is through prescription drugs subsidies.

Not only are health care insurances expensive, drug prescriptions are also pricey and unaffordable to many citizens. One way of financing health care is to subsidize prescription drug expenses in order to lessen the burden of citizens in paying for medicines that will help them feel get better.

Professionalizing medical and health care professionals and practitioners is also one way of funding health care to improve the quality of its services.

This means providing opportunities for these professionals and practitioners to further their career and adapt to trends and innovations in the field of health care. Moreover, health care research is may also be funded to determine improvements needed in the field, from trends in medical practices to breakthroughs in treating specific illnesses, etc. (BlueCross BlueShield Association, 2007)

The cost of health care as well as trends in financing health care cost leaves an impact to all stakeholders namely the health care workers, businesses, consumers, the government, and even the make-up or structure of health care facilities. When it comes to trends in health care financing, taking no notice of one component of health care leaves stakeholders affected.

For instance, if the government mainly follows technological trends in improving health care but disregards the need to provide access to a wider population, then the national health care program will fail to accomplish its purpose. Therefore, trends in financing health care should be flexible and be able to look into the dynamic structure of health care and address the needs of everyone or everything comprising it.

As in the health care financing trends, health care costs also influences components of the structure of health care.

High cost of health care insurances, services, and medicine will mean that majority of the population will not be able to afford health and medical needs. This will result to unproductive citizens, lower employment rate, and eventually larger population of underprivileged citizens.

The government will be blamed for the unfortunate situation of health care in the country. Businesses will not be able to provide employees with health care insurances, etc. This is just one scenario communicating the impact of health care costs to the nation and proving that financing health care should be adjusted in such a way that it addresses the complex and comprehensive needs of the people to afford health care services.

References

BlueCross BlueShield Association. (2007). “National Healthcare Trends.” Retrieved September

9, 2008, from Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Website: http://www.bcbs.com/blueresources/mcrg/chapter1/

Buck, J. A. (2003). “Medicaid, Health Care Financing Trends, and the Future of State-Based

Public Mental Health Services.” Psychiatric Services, Vol. 54 No. 7. Retrieved September 9, 2008, from Psych Services. Website: http://psychservices.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/54/7/969

HFMA. (2007). “Healthcare Payment: Goals, Trends, and Strategies.” Retrieved September 9, 2008, from Healthcare Financial Management Association. Website: http://www.hfma.org/NR/rdonlyres/028B0321-3450-4903-94C1-C6CED469E674/0/400554FNFIIIHealthcarePaymentGoalsTrendsandStrategies.pdf