Among the developed countries, the United States has the most expensive healthcare system, spending about 16% of the country’s gross domestic product and a per capita cost of $5300 in 2002. Despite these huge expenditures, 15% of the American population has no health insurance. Moreover, since the US health care programs are comprised of mixed public-private system (Davis, 2007), this can be accounted for the failure in the US health care system as recent studies showed.
One of the proposed solutions to this problem is the enactment of a federal legislation for a universal health care coverage for everyone, which is continuous, affordable, cost-effective and cost-efficient for sustainability, and includes services for long term benefits.
Dr. Stephen C. Schoenbaum, Executive Vice President for programs at The Commonwealth Fund offers the following innovative and possible solutions to increase the efficiency of the US health care system: coverage of the uninsured, reduction in cost shifting, and administrative simplification;
More primary care and less specialty care; inter-operable health information technology; mass customization of care; and delivery of near perfect care (Schoenbaum, 2006).
He argued that lessening administrative expenses due to benefits claim, focus on primary health care as against specialist services, encouraging doctors to use the information highway, and providing for a database of similar health-related problems may offset the cost of providing universal coverage.
The Institute of Medicine stated that, “The many consequences of uninsurance and the growing threat it poses to the very fabric of America’s health care system makes this a problem that can no longer be ignored.” (Bailey, 2004). Hence, the government should address this problem as soon as possible alongside with the proper information dissemination that will enlighten the public on the benefits that can be acquired in getting insured.
Bailey, Jon. 2004. “Health Care in Rural America” Center for Rural Affairs Newsletter, October 2004. [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 23 July 2007 from www.cfra.org.
Davis, Karen 2007. “Uninsured in America: problems and possible solutions” [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 23 July 2007 from http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/334/7589/346#ContentTop
Schoenbaum, Stephen C. 2006. “Keys to a high-performance health system for the United States: we can greatly improve the performance of the U.S. healthcare system, but first we need to reexamine some of our long-held notions”. Healthcare Financial Management. July 2006. [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 23 Jul. 2007 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3257/is_7_60/ai_n16609017