The Results of the Systematic Evaluation of the US Healthcare System

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Answer: The results of this evaluation saw the US scoring 66 out of 100 on the scale implemented by the Commonwealth Fund (322). The overall performance of the U.S. was relatively underwhelming, and failed to compare with the evaluation's top performers (322). The health care system, in fact, often lagged behind these performers greatly (322). Interestingly, there are remarkable implications for these findings. 

The Commonwealth Fund found that if the U.S was able to increase their performance in the healthcare system, they would see a reduction of 150,000 lives lost (322). Further, as a whole the nation would stand to save at least $100 billion each year (322). The study determined that the U.S. needs to explore where they can improve, particularly when examining their mortality rates as well as the average life expectancy of healthy citizens (322). In order for the U.S. to meet these standards, their performance rates would have to increase by at least 50% in order to compete with the health care systems of other countries.  

Question 2: Explain the reasons for the high cost of medical care in the US. 

Answer: Perhaps the main reason medical care is so high in the U.S. is due to the privatization of insurance (323). This made health insurance a commodity that served to make companies profits (323). While other countries view health insurance as a basic human right that all citizens need to sustain a healthy life and therefore be a contributing member of society, America views health insurance as any other good to be traded on the market (323). 

Insurance companies can then compete with the other in order to maximize profits; thus the individual is paying not only for the potential payout but company costs as well (323). The solution therefore is to have high premiums customers must pay in order to stay afloat in the economy and be able to make a profit. When healthcare is predicated on profit over valuing human life, the prices can certainly be unreasonable and expensive. The overarching theory was that those that could afford health insurance essentially had the most access to resources, and in a capitalist economy, high costs would not be a deterrent to their need for insurance.  

Question 3: In recent estimates, how many people were uninsured in the U.S.?  How many went without health insurance in a two year period? 

Answer: The amount of citizens in America that go without insurance has been estimated as recently as 2010 to be 47 million (340). This means these citizens were without both private insurance as well as public assistance insurance (340). This comes out to around an average of one out of every eight people that did not have any kind of insurance (340). Within any short two-year period, it is also estimated that at least 80 million citizens go without insurance during any given stretch of time (341). Further, at least 2/3s of this population went at least six months before they were insured (341). 

Those individuals who are not able to procure health insurance often find themselves in very serious situations regarding their health (341). Without this insurance, it is rather difficult for many to justify seeking out the high costs of preventative care when they are not actually sick, even though this type of care can easily help spot diseases and illnesses early on and thus prevent more serious outcomes (341).  

Question 4: Describe the basic benefits of the Affordable Care Act and the criticisms of it.  – 

Answer: The overarching idea behind the Affordable Care Act (ACT) is to address and then reform the many issues found in U.S. healthcare (351). There are certain benefits that reform is guaranteed to provide for the American public. First, the amount of people with insurance was expected to increase greatly (351). An individual mandate that was included commanding citizens to be insured by a certain time frame not only ensures that more people will sign up for healthcare, but in theory it provides greater access to healthcare (351). 

This mandate could expand Medicaid, increasing the amount of impoverished people who are eligible for insurance (351). Individuals can no longer be denied by a health insurance company if they have a pre-existing condition (351). New types of mandated coverage, such as cancer screenings and other preventatives services are now required by insurance companies to be available at no additional cost (351). States will have their own plans for those that cannot afford private insurance (351). 

Smaller companies are given tax breaks in order to be able to provide insurance for their staff (351). Doctors who decide to enter a practice that focuses on primary care are incentivized with high levels of reimbursement (352). Lastly, mandates on members of congress, augmenting funding for public healthcare, and my other provisions provide a myriad of benefits to citizens (352). Some criticisms of the plan include a high level of involvement concerning the government (352). Also, the plan itself has been criticized for being much too costly to be justified (353). There is no mention of what to do when medical malpractice arise; there will still be people who go uninsured, and the issue of privatization and for-profit companies is not addressed (353).  

Question 5: What is the organ donation policy in the U.S.? 

Answer: Organ donation policy has created some social and ethical conundrums in the U.S. 

The policy has not remained static, but rather has changed over time (399). AS of 1987, hospitals are required by law to inform patients and their loved ones aware of the option tp donate their organs if the hospitals want to receive benefits, particularly reimbursement form the government (400). Further, is an organ donation is agreed upon, the hospital must then notify a certain organization that is federally certified in the field of procuring organs to transplant for sick patients in need (400). Further, a registry must be maintained at the national level to register organ donors (400). 

These policies in general are strictly adhered to as they ensure that hospitals are reimbursed for programs such as Medicaid (400). This registry also allows for quicker matches for those on the organ donation list to find potential donors who can save their lives (400). However, research indicates that although there are these policies in place to ensure proper organ donation transactions, many doctors actually are not comfortable or at least totally familiar with the process of requesting a donor (400). This perhaps suggests that there needs to be more training within organ donation policies nationwide to ensure doctors know how to act should they be in a position to request such a procedure. The amount of red tape health care professionals must undergo to complete this process should be enough to convince officials that organ donation policies should include more training on proper protocol.