Health care spending

Disregarding the growing rates of the US longevity, the life expectancy is accompanied with disabilities and chronic diseases. Unhealthful lifestyles, harmful behaviors (overweight, alcohol and drug usage, and lacking exercise) are the risk factors of heart and chronic diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and other associated illnesses.

All improvements in health care field were influenced and distributed by demographic and financial changes: racial, ethnical and geographical, income-related and educational. Nevertheless, comparing to other countries, the United States have the latest health care equipment, technologies, furnished hospitals, experts.

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And, at the same time, American citizens spend on health more than any other country, and the national health care expenditures are still increasing. Both government and policymakers came to a conclusion that costs on healthcare must be under control.

At present, approaches to decrease the health care price tag are still in inaction period, while the medical care and health insurance cost for common employers and customers keep increasing by inflation, administrative expenses, inapt care, wastes and poor organization, and keep affecting the families’ safety.

The level of current national healthcare expenditures

As it was mentioned above, the US health care system is the most advanced with these all new technologies, services and conditions. But, along with this progress, a certain part of Americans can not afford these services, because of unavailability, difficulties to obtain, or high-price to buy.

In 2005, 24 percent of Americans from 18 to 44 years old could not afford one or more of the needed services; 10 percent did not get medical care; 12 percent – prescribed medicine; 40 percent – mental health care; 16 percent – dental care; 8 percent – eyeglasses. Moreover, the distribution of health care resources varies from state to state, metro and rural areas.

“Health Care Spending” “Page #2”

The other shocking factor in health care system is that almost 47 million of Americans have no insurance, yet the US health care expenditures exceed the health care costs in other developed countries, where every citizen is insured.

Borger has projected that, taking into account $2-trillion (or $6,700 per capita) US health care spending in 2005, it “is projected to reach $2.9 in 2009 … [and] $4 trillion by 2015” (Health Affairs Web Exclusive, W61). The employer annual health insurance premium made up $11,500 in 2006 for a four-member family, and $4,200 for a single.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has marked out a number of increases in health insurance costs in 2006:

Premium’s 7.7-percent increase for employer-based health insurance (or 87-percent increase since 2000, comparing to 18-percent inflation and 20-percent wage growth in the same period); 8.8-percent increase for small employers; 10.5-percent increase for firms, which have less than 24 employees. Comparing to 2000, family covering health plan had been annually increasing by $1,094.

Annual premium for four-member family coverage averaged $11,500 in 2006, with $3,000 (10 percent) increase, comparing to 2005.
Since 2000, employer’s premiums as compared with employee’s earnings have been growing four times more.

In ten years, health care spending rose at the fastest rate and the projected increasing costs, along with economists’ concerns as to the US economy’s inability to handle with it, were justified. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have already investigated the growing costs’ question – the results are frightening – in a few years, national health care expenditures we be doubled.

What does it mean for every American individually? Expensive medicine and family purse, and the ‘needed services’ that cover excessive administrative costs and medical care steel money for education, house, car or vacation.

Drugs to treat arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, and gastrointestinal diseases fell under the category of the best-selling and profitable prescription drugs. And the reason is not only in higher-cost drugs, but rather in doctors’ prescriptions that do not always correspond to disease, and, consequently, lead to surgeries, long-term and costly hospital stays.

Moreover, insurance coverage had made consumers tolerant to drugs’ price, poor disease management and had blinded them to results. The health quality has not greatly improved; neither do people have strength and energy to cope with everyday work because of health standards’ violation.