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5 Policy Changes needed for efficient Affordable Health Care System

Updated on April 9, 2016
Protests in Washington (AP)
Protests in Washington (AP)

Affordable Health Care Policies in the United States, shows that about 17.1% of its gross national product is spent on providing health care services. Annually, this translates to around 8,558 USD per person. This is several times greater than the capita GNP of many other nations. However, there are many issues in the country’s coverage and services. These services are gripped by stern inflation. Consequently, 37 million locals don’t have adequate coverage against medical issues. And, a majority daunts the expense in serious medical problems and health issues. This brings forth the following question: why does America spend so much and still have shortcomings? Experts believe that health care insurance service providers tend to add new components without rectifying the underlying problem.

Issues in the Current System

Here is a quick walk through on United States major health care problems. They includes;

  • Presence of Runaway Charges

The existing healthcare system has serious runaway charges. Affordable health care plans and its benefits are offered to locals for both tax and historical reasons. These benefits are given through employers. Most of these benefits are void of tax and employees are advised to pay minimal premium costs. Conversely, the premium insurance holders have very little knowledge about the actual costs involved. With respect to the worker, services from the healthcare system are sent for free. This is why workers are reluctant to ask for more facilities. Likewise, physicians know that their patients pay little or none! As a result, they gain very little incentives in prescribing costly medical treatments – even with marginal rewards. This is why healthcare prices increase rapidly. Both consumers and providers are not sensitive to the charges.

On the other hand, individuals who don’t have tax free affordable health care plans from their employers should pay using after-tax dollars. This is why individuals who are not completely covered face higher charges than those who are fully covered. Consequently, the insurance market forces Americans, (rich or poor, insured or uninsured) to pay a bigger price.

  • Coverage

Secondly, help from the government doesn’t reach those in need. By default, the tax code supports company based healthcare policies. As a result, individuals who purchase their very own independent insurance policies for their healthcare requirements, dependents and employees are forced to pay a bigger price. This makes insurance policies for poorly skilled workers and their dear ones expensive. Additionally, Medicaid is strongly interconnected with welfare systems. Regardless of the locality, poor families who are off welfare and intact will not be eligible for government aided healthcare services.

  • Personal Choices

Thirdly, citizens in United States are often reluctant to protect themselves and their dear ones from healthcare problems. A lot of families, individuals and youngsters tend to invest on objective artifacts and not on healthcare insurance policies. And, you will be fascinated to note that these individuals are healthier and stronger. Experts believe that these individuals are playing roulette with their good health. And, this is a prime reason behind the problems in our present healthcare system. A lot of individuals find it very difficult to protect themselves during illnesses. Only those who are protected with welfare based government assistance and income/tax breaks enjoy adequate levels of protection.

Several ideas have been proposed to overcome issues in the United States healthcare system. Interestingly, the National Health Insurance System in the country is forced to face intense pressure. Eventually, many people believe that the country would have a proficient National Health System – a system that assures affordable healthcare and high quality medical assistance to its citizens. Conversely, the actual issue revolves around the kind of system the government should offer. With too many proposals and untold side effects, most of these suggestions have witnessed a step back! A lot of Government Funded Systems focus on the health systems proposed by nations like Sweden and Britain. Currently, Canada has the world’s finest and most fashionable healthcare system, which is predominantly similar to what European nations established several decades ago. These nations provide free access to healthcare service providers and the government agrees to pay the entire cost. It is quite impressive to note that even royals and millionaires in Britain can go for free medical assistance. The only issue with these problems is that the government controls the strings in these systems.

When things are offered for free, demand tends to overhead the real need. This is why Britain adheres to a Triage Principle. Rational factors like political sensitivity and age are used to determine the beneficiary. Conversely, some people are forced to wait for endless durations (may be weeks, months and even years). Canada is around 25 years behind Britain’s healthcare system. However, slow changes are visible in the Canadian System.

In general, Americans tend to be reluctant in rationing or accepting the presence of endemic shortages in National Healthcare Services. This triggers individuals to demand for hefty coverages from their employees. Meanwhile, large employers are requested to subsidize the medical needs of unemployed individuals and small firms. These proposals evolve to be politically attractive. After all, most employer regulations in United States are believed to be caused by politicians.

Eventually, it wouldn’t be a surprise if a budget strapped Federal Government pushes its expenditures to the private sector. Unluckily, such moves are surrounded by many hidden charges. A major problem in such moves would be the hidden cost. If an employer agrees to offer affordable healthcare, the terms and conditions should be included in the hiring practice. This is when employers refrain from hiring individuals, who would benefit from the medical insurance plans.

On the other hand, mandated benefits would bestow hardships on employers with small budgets and lower profits. In fact, small employers are responsible for creating new employment opportunities and jobs for the least skilled population. These employees do require affordable health care support. A mandated healthcare system will eliminate poorly paid citizens from essential healthcare services. With the rise of philosophical concerns, the benefits in mandates healthcare policies drop drastically. For example, employers will not be able to promise a balanced, adequate diet for employees. In fact, they would not be able to offer good education, shelter, and clothing or care too. Even with such complications, there is very little argument on why households should take care of their healthcare needs.

NOVEMBER 15 - United Staes - Health and Human Services Secretary
NOVEMBER 15 - United Staes - Health and Human Services Secretary | Source

Proposed Plan

Due to presence of these three problems, we had to re-visit a national healthcare system proposed by Heritage Foundation. This is an interesting national health system that works on diverse foundations. The Foundation was developed with a new monograph in mind – A National Health System for America. The plan focuses on achieving four important, closely related objectives. Firstly, all citizens are promised with affordable healthcare facilities. As a result, inflationary pressures in the country’s overall healthcare industry are controlled efficiently.

Policies of the Plan

  • Better Innovation and Delivery of Affordable Health care

According to experts, any reformed healthcare system in the country should promise greater levels of innovation and delivery of healthcare. Regardless of whether the service is direct or indirect, it should be provided to all those in need. The Plan comprises of several important components. Initially, the healthcare plan focuses on changing the overall tax treatment of the country’s healthcare system. The plan considers all healthcare benefits provided by employers as a taxable component of the employee’s pay scale alias income. However, this change introduces above-the-line tax credits to employees. To be more precise, a credit of 20% would be offered to the insurance purchases. Additionally, a prominent rise in credit will be seen by families that spend out-of-pocket.

Coverage for dependents is significantly generous. Based on the medical needs and coverage, parents may receive credits. It is quite fascinating to note that an employee from a big firm and those who are self-employed, will avail similar tax benefits. With the help of bigger credits, citizens will be able to invest more on modest healthcare facilities and routines. The new plan targets those in need and can have a lasting impact on those uninsured.

Expert fear that consume based healthcare insurance policies wouldn’t work well in America’s healthcare industry. This is because very few Americans excel in medical situations and questions. Also, they end up buying policies only when an unexpected emergency arises. Luckily, these concerns are carefully overlooked by the Heritage plan. There are two levels of competition in the medical world. One is spurred due to hefty tax credits that are incurred as a result of out-of-pocket charges during healthcare needs. Routine based services like annual physical checkups, dental appointments and treatments for minor wounds are handled during routine based services. This is when minimal medical knowledge is required. Conversely, consumer choice is strongly influenced by factors like waiting time, cost and other non-medical artifacts. Consumer choice and competition are strong motivators when it comes to insurers! Individual insurance packages are controlled by many critical myths and beliefs. Some believe that individual insurance schemes would be costlier than group policies. This is an exception making the individual much more expensive. If an entire family is carefully insured, the cost of routine based check-ups would decrease drastically. Secondly, group based schemes have advantages to both the seller and the buyer. However, experts worry if insurers would cream the entire healthcare market. Regardless of these worries, everyone’s aim is to provide affordable healthcare.

  • Cost Distribution

Would the heritage plan mean higher costs for some citizens? Unfortunately, the affordable health plan can be costly for some. Luckily, higher costs are offset by bigger credit scores. Meanwhile, the government doesn’t lose its tax revenue too. That is because the revenue loss on affordable healthcare plans would be low at all times. The Heritage Proposal makes sure all household receive the right kind of insurance policy. In fact, some states stress on the use of appropriate safety gears to ensure protection. Nevertheless, the state government or the federal organization doesn’t stress on household protection from serious illnesses or catastrophes. The Heritage plan dictates that healthcare protection should be a part of individual commitment and not a business. Also, it assumes the direct bond between the society and households. This differentiates healthcare insurance policies from the rest. Moving on, it offers help to those who are below the affordability line! As a result, everyone in the country will have a reliable healthcare policy to help them through. Irrespective of these benefits, some families find the assistance of Healthcare schemes like Heritage insufficient. This includes families with a history of health disorders and other problems.

  • Risk Pooling

In general, high risk individuals can be subsidized carefully with the help of risk pools. This is an alternative strategy that doesn’t merge coverage with risk. Some analysts state that subsidized risk pools can increase the rates of insured households. And, the cost of protecting families of high risk is shared by everyone else. This is a regressive step in the Heritage Plan. According to Medicaid, a special program called the “Medicaid Reform” is introduced to help those who cannot afford for healthcare insurance policies. The Heritage Plan provides ways by which the SS1 and AFDC plans are broken apart. Well, an interesting and an effective way of differentiating would be by amending the eligibility criteria.

  • Long Term Nursing Charges

Long term nursing costs is another element of the Heritage Proposal. Here a new payroll tax is integrated with the nursing home cost. The simple approach is capable of repeating inflationary problems associated with other social healthcare insurance programs. The actual problem would be the belief that your entire life would revolve around hefty nursing costs. And, the Heritage Plan gives a solution to this problem. The new scheme encourages elders to convert their life insurance policies to exquisite nursing home care insurance. The conversion is strongly promoted by many companies. Also, interest variants are provided to support the change.

  • Long Term Care Insurance

Finally, the Heritage medical plan advises youngsters to invest on long term care insurance. Though there are plenty of insurance policies in the country, very few people invest on them. It would be the Federal Government’s duty to stress on such investments. A major reason why long term care insurance is not famous would be its confusing nature. By offering proper classifications, this problem would come to an end and trigger the public to make smart decisions.

The Verdict

The ultimate goal of these changes would be to create an efficient, affordable health care system that is void of unnecessary gaps. The health care industry should be loaded with powerful incentives that can support sensitive customers at all times. As a result, United States would have an amazing National Health System with high levels of excellence, quality and budget control!

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