Health Care Spending
“More health care is not always better health care” (OECD, 2013, para. 2) Throwing money at the current health care system won’t necessarily help or solve the present-day crisis. The United States is #1 in the world in per capita health care spending yet our life span is not the longest or of the highest quality (OECD, 2011). This paper will overview the current and future health care programs, how they are currently financed and in the future, and how we can decrease spending.
There are many methods to look at how healthcare expenditures are calculated. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) tells us that in 2011 the US federal government spent $2.7 trillion or 17.9% ...view middle of the document...
If we only reached the average in savings we would decrease spending by $672 billion per year (McClanahan, 2011). It is also important to consider that for the 34 countries listed we have the highest spending and are below average for both life expectancy and infant mortality (OECD, 2011). Based on these numbers and the quality and quantity of life expectancy of our citizens compared to other countries we are not getting the most value and best outcomes for what is spent.
Overall, the evidence suggests that prices for health services and goods are substantially higher in the United States than elsewhere. This is an important cause of higher health spending in the United States. Our doctors write more prescriptions, perform more tests, and do more procedures than other countries.
Over 82% of Americans do have some sort of health insurance plan or other coverage. The majority including dependents are covered by their employers. The table below shows the breakdown of how individuals’ healthcare is provided.
| Non-Elderly | Elderly |
Total Persons | 270 million | 39 million |
Total Persons Insured | 82.2% | 99.2% |
Employer Coverage | 32.0% | 35.5% |
Employer Coverage (dependents) | 30.4% | N/A |
Other Private Insurance | 6.8% | 7.1% |
Military | 2.9% | 7.1% |
Medicare | 2.5% | 9.5% |
Medicaid | 13.4% | 9.4% |
Uninsured | 17.8% | 0.8% |
Table 5.1 Health Insurance Coverage of US Population
One method to finance healthcare in the future is raising the age for Medicare eligibility. In 1965, when Medicare was originally enacted the life expectancy was less than 70 years. People are now living much longer. We must also consider the fact that by 2030 the beneficiaries will grow to 81 million from just over 50 million currently (Moffitt & Senger, 2013). Medicare levies penalties for anyone over the age of 65 that doesn’t enroll in the program. Why are we punishing people that opt to pay for their own insurance or are still employed and receive insurance benefits? Medicare benefits could be opened up for various private insurance companies to bid on to save money. Without major modifications Medicare is not solvent long term.
I believe that every person should have a vested interest and have some money they are required to pay to receive care. This could be in the form of a co-pay or co-insurance. When one something is free many see no value in it or they don’t consider the person performing said service. This could decrease the number of office visits and prescriptions filled. Another option could be a HSA or Health Savings Account. In this program an amount of money is put in a fund used only for health care. This allows patients to make choices of what they deem necessary and at the same time they have to consider what it costs. Many people are very quick to go to the doctor or ER for something like a cold because they have no consequence of doing so. Koster (2013) states that employees at one scrap recycling company...