Ethical Issues in Health Care Finance
Ethical Issues in Health Care Finance
The topic of ethical issues in every industry is usually interesting because it attracts a significant number of scholars and professionals to argue. This topic becomes even more interesting when it comes to health care financing. Ethical issues in health care financing begin, when defining human health. Human health is a basic need (Maharaj and Paul, 2011). It does not matter what type of health challenges a person has and whether a person is in a developed country or not. The issue with human health is that, all humans require health appropriate treatment when they need it. However, the health care system seems insatiable when it comes to financing. Health care financing source from an individual occurs at the at the point of delivery otherwise known as fees for services does not seem to have a significant impact in the required health care financing (Hurley, 2001). It is important to leave individuals as entities that pay for healthcare out of financing the health care industry and concentrate on the government, private agencies such as insurances and donors. The ethical issues in health care financing questions whether the major health care financiers: the government and insurance companies can justify paying for treatment for all human in the country.
The argument with health care financing is that governments can pay for high medical technology development in terms of complicated medical equipments and new treatment technologies. It is important to understand that although advanced medical development are in place, there is an issue as to whether individual patients will the able to afford treatment using this advanced technology (Maharaj and Paul, 2011). If individual patients will not afford to use new treatment technologies, then it will be likely that the new advancement in medical technologies are a direct preserves of those with an upper economic advantage. This is contrary to the equity required in the health care system because health is basic need and therefore should be available for all. High cost of medical technological treatment and a few populations who cannot individually afford for this treatment are not the only issues that raise medical treatment. The insurance industry is the greatest player in the health care industry.
The insurance industry provides medical policies for every eligible citizen. While the insurance arrangement for healthcare financing is justified through the assumption that country men and women are participating in sharing cost in paying up hospital bills. However, there is a crisis with the health insurance, which has raised significant ethical issues. This issues range from existence of different types of policies for different people and the issues that, the insurance company rather than the doctor determines the type of treatment the patient will get because of different categorized policies. Another incidence of inequality sets in even in with the insurance. Just like individual patient might not afford to pay high tech medical treatment at the point of delivery, the same is happening in the insurance industry because insurances now require different policies for different individual (Maharaj and Paul, 2011).
These different policies characterize people according to their risk such that, people of high risk pay more premiums that people of low risk. If this policy categorization is justified then there will be a new inequality that will set in. This inequality will arise from those who pay for high premiums and might never have to go to hospital unless an accident occurs. Health care financing will seem to be a long term debate bombarded with ethical issues that take long to solve. These ethical dilemma although exist to offer ready solutions in healthcare financing, the whole issue boils down to whether the current happening in the health care industry offers beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy and justice.
Maharaj, S.R. and Paul, TJ. (2011). Ethical Issues in Healthcare Financing. West Indian Medical Journal. 60. (4): 31-44 Hurley, J. (2001). Ethics, economics, and public financing of health care. Journal of Medical Ethics. 27. (4): 234-239.