Health care expenses in the United States are increasing at a much higher rate than the people’s income. In the recent past, health care expenses have continued to rise with more and more health issues being reported. Due to the rising needs in the health care, the government of the United States has employed several measures that are aimed at reducing the amount of money spend on health care.
Health care expenses have consumed most of the countries resources, yet the results have been lower than expected. Since 1980, the United States has recorded the highest per capita expenses on health care. Compared to other western nations, the united states continue to record a higher percentage on health care expenses.
It is currently expected that the health expenses will continue to rise drastically. It is for this reason that the government is looking into several means that will ensure that the people enjoy proper health care facilities without necessarily having to spend much. Health care being a fundamental requirement to individuals for sustainable economic growth has imposed a lot of stress on the countries budget and the family resources.
It is an issue that cannot be done away with as the demands are irresistible. In its efforts to curb the high expenses, the government has to first consider the specific areas that are causing such abnormal increase.
It has been noted that some of the unnecessary expenses are being recorded due to ignorance especially on the citizens about home based care treatment and knowledge on the first aid measures that can help avoid some hospital bills. By identifying these areas, it will be able to consider the available alternatives and ascertain their costs for implementation (Feldstein, 2005).
Some of these strategies include; increasing affectivity of the medical market through information and competition, reducing the rates of health insurance policies to accommodate more people, health care providers should be motivated to deliver quality health care services, encouraging primary care to patients to minimize on hospital bills, investing more funds on health information to keep people updated of the relevant health issues and providing health care facilities at an affordable price.
Considering all the factors that contribute to the high expenses in health care, the following measures can be implemented to minimize on future expenses; the administrative overheads should be reduced with a plan to minimize on unnecessary expenses, encouraging people to go for earlier diagnosis to avoid future complications, encouraging home based care of some patients to avoid admission expenses and enhancing the efficiency of the available health care facilities.
Despite the high financial output invested in health care, there has not been recorded a subsequent improvement in health quality (Mason, 2007). The current measures are therefore aimed at improving the health care system and at the same time making it affordable to all.
Some of the factors that have contributed to the rising costs in Medicare without positive results include; in appropriate use of medical facilities, demanding more medical services than it is really required, the market health providers setting their prices slightly below competitive market levels, a lower ratio between the health care specialists and the primary care needs, lack of information on primary care and preventive measures that will reduce the costs when the disease is diagnosed at a later stage.
Incompetence on the part of the health care providers that leads to poor and unsafe diagnosis, inadequate information on health care and high administrative costs.
To achieve a future reduction on health care expenses, long term policies need to be amended, this policies include; introduction of new technology that will enhance the process of diagnosing and treating diseases, review on the wages and the prices of services provided by the hospital, empowering health care providers and companies to provide quality goods and services and a check on the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases. It may however not be easy for the country to achieve such higher levels unless thorough supervision and follow up is observed.
To ensure that the health care services provided are of competitive prices, the health care staff needs to be equipped with modern knowledge on relevant health issues.
The overhead expenses on administrative insurance are slightly higher and any revision towards their reduction will go a long way in reducing general health care costs. The government also needs to review the payment package of the health providers and give them incentives that will motivate them to provide quality services.
The health care system should be changed to accommodate patient-centered primary care. Some policies that have been used over the years have not necessarily reduced the overall expenditure on medication; they were instead shifting the expenses from one payer to the other (Wolper, 2004). The current health care policies should therefore be capable of reducing the overall expenses on health care.
This will begin by making changes at the national level which will include; incorporating the amendments in the federal policy, regular monitoring of health care centers to ensure continuous quality services, experiment and implement practical measures that will produce positive results. The policies should be based on practical evidences of implementation once enacted. The policies should also have the ability to produce both long term and short term positive results.
There have been a number of legislative proposals that have been introduced in the congress to address the issues of health.
They include standardizing and simplifying the Medicare facilities and the introduction of negotiated prices, proper utilization of information technology to ensure that the people are well informed on health issues, value based purchase systems to be implemented when purchasing medicine and keeping the public informed on the available quality health care facilities and the price at which they are being offered.
There has been a contrast between the medical services being offered by the private and public sector. It has generally been presumed that the private heath care centers offer high quality services at a higher price compared to the public health centers. This has led to the influx of many private health clinics some of which offer substandard services for higher prices (Behan, 2006).
Patients who have been in urgent need of health care have been for a long time been manipulated by these clinics most of which are more money minded. It is therefore important for the government to include the private health centers in its effort to curb the high medical expenses.
Despite the high record on medical expenses in the United States, the country continues to record higher quality medical services with commendable innovations in the field of medicine. It has also recorded a comparable higher rate of survivors of chronic diseases like cancer, yet the infant mortality rate continues to be on the rise.
Most of such expenses are recorded on health insurance policies, fears of possible infections and attacks has made most of the citizens to take insurance cover some of which has been made compulsory to a number of employees.
Implementing such measures will require dedication and commitment on the government and the private sector. The initial stages may be quit costly but when the correct measures and procedures are diligently followed, the results will minimize on the general costs of health care services.
The government will have to screen and check all the health care centers to ensure that the services provided are of good quality and that the medical staff is endowed with the required skills. The private health centers should be minimized and only allow those that offer genuine services at reasonable prices be allowed to operate. (Wolper, 2004)
As mentioned earlier, the results may not be achieved immediately but by the government’s efforts to cut down on these costs, future America will enjoy reduced costs. It may not matter how much it currently invests towards the same, the long term goal of providing the services at a cheaper rate is the most fundamental goal.
With the help of medical experts, the government can be assisted in finding out several measures than can be employed to reduce the pressure on GDP. The general public also needs to cooperate with the government and the private sector by providing information and ideas that may be required. (Mason, 2007)
Behan P. (2006): Solving the health care problem, New York: SUNY Press pp24-29
Feldstein S. (2005): Health Care Economics, Michigan (6th edition): Thomson pp33-37
Mason J. (2007): Policy & politics in nursing and health care, Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier pp12-15
Wolper F. (2004): Health care administration, United States: Jones & Bartlett Publishers pp27-33