Of all the progressing countries, United States has a very exclusive system of health care delivery. The health care delivery in the United States has long been described as a “cottage industry,” characterized by fragmentation at the national, state, community, and practice levels. There is no single national entity or set of policies guiding the health care system; states divide their responsibilities among multiple agencies, while providers practicing in the same community and caring for the same patients often work independently from one another (How, Shih, Lau, Schoen, 2008).
There are ten characteristics that differentiate the United States health care delivery system from the other countries. One of them is the absence of centralized agency to govern the system. The health care delivery system is not administratively handled by a single department or company. The unequal access to health care services is due to lack of health insurance for all the Americans. In order for them to obtain health insurance, they either have to do a co pay with their employers, pay for their own private insurance, pay out of their pockets, or they are covered under a government health care program like TRICARE.
And some of them cannot afford to pay which they will then remain uninsured. The most prevalent type of health insurance, covering 62 percent of the non-elderly U. S. population, is employer-provided health insurance coverage (Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust 2004). Due to imperfect market conditions, the patient does not have any freedom in choosing their own providers, and prices are not governed by the interaction of the forces of supply and demand. With the third party insurers that act as intermediaries, they create a wall that separates them between the financing and delivery functions.
For other developing countries such as Canada, they have a national health care system which is sometimes referred to as a single-payer system because they basically have the government as the primary payer. On the contrary, the United States has a multiplicity of health plans and insurance companies because each employer has a liberty to determine the type of health plan it offers. Since each plans shows out the kind of services the enrollee can receive, some plans make an erratic determination of how much they will pay for a certain type of service.
In today’s society, the risk of malpractice lawsuits is always a big deal. Although most scholars of malpractice agree that defensive medicine is highly prevalent, reliable estimates of its cost are notoriously difficult to obtain (Studdert, Mello, Brennan, 2010). Some medical practitioners engage in defensive medicine by prescribing unnecessary diagnostic test, adding more scheduled return checkup, and maintaining copious documentation which makes it more costly and inefficient. Advancement in science and technology often constitute demand for new services even though resources are not adequate enough to support it.
Most people want the updated and the best technology in the market, especially if the health insurance company will cover the cost for testing or treatments. Hospitals compete on the basis of who has the most advance equipment and facilities. But this will cost them to use a chunk of their resources, which through utilization, they will be able to compensate the loss. That normally changes the cost of the testing procedures using the new instruments. Some of the providers do not agree with the new technologies due to the legal risks that may involve.
It does not mean new technologies are better technologies. The health care service settings are limited to the hospital and the doctor’s office before, but now, several places like health homes, outpatient surgery centers, sub-acute care units, and hospice. This is very convenient for patients who live far away from the big hospitals. It will save them time and money instead of driving a long distance plus, waiting in a long line. We always hear the issue: “America is getting fatter. ” But then, we tend to take this for granted and focus on other health care issues.
Even if you are healthy, obesity is undoubtedly a problem for someone like your family members or friends and is surely on the rise for children. Healthy diets represent more complex financial issues. Healthy unprocessed foods may be cheaper but require extra preparation time which can become very expensive. Thus the movement from unprocessed to quickly prepared, low cost processed foods may help explain the increased in obesity (Cutler, Glaeser ; Shapiro, 2003). Reports from 2005 indicated that sixty five percent of American adults were overweight or possibly obese.
Even these days, obesity rates are tremendously higher and it seems to grow exponentially. There are a lot of risks included if you are obese, and these are high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and heart disease which is the most concerning. Many factors are attributing to obesity. If we look on today’s generation, our work environment is not as strenuous as they used to be. Back then, we use to go hunting and gathering, but for most of us now, we are sedentary in our offices through most of the day. Another contributor is being a couch potato. Today’s television shows and video games parks people on their couches.
However, the biggest factor in obesity is overeating. Americans are eating larger portions instead of eating the adequate amount. Low physical activity is associated with cigarette smoking, lower fruit and vegetable consumption, greater television watching, video gaming and other negative health behaviors in teenagers. Future studies should examine whether interventions for increasing physical activity in youth can be effective in reducing negative health behaviors (Am J Public Health, 1996). Engaging to high physical activity like sports or any outdoor activity will improve everyone’s lifestyle, and may increase the life span as well.