Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A health Care (Plan) Dilemma :: Part I

Universal Health Care: Why Should Congress Re-open the Discussions?

The idea of universal health care in United States is very conflictual. Almostevery effort aiming to enact regulations in favor of a national health carereform has been unsuccessful. In the early 1900's, President Theodor Rooseveltfailed to unite congress around that idea. After World War II, Harry Truman wasunable to reach a compromising deal with the national's health reform opponents.In 1993, Bill Clinton's administration failed to meet the desiderata of healthadvocate groups along with health care providers and insurers. In themeantime, "health care administration has been transmogrified from the servantof medicine to its master, from a handful of support staff dedicated tofacilitating patient care to a vast army preoccupied with profitability"(Woodhander, 2008). Fuchs et al. (2005) suggest that designing mechanismsthat will alleviate the unfavorable effects on potential health care opponentswhile creating major gains for society as a whole is one of the majorchallenges that health care reformers are facing. Nevertheless, Congress isconsidering taking up the debate once again. Followed are some traditional andcurrent issues that might persuade them to generate discussions over universalhealth coverage for Americans (including Haitian-Amaricans and all legalimmigrants).

The majority of the electorate is in favor of a national or universal healthcare coverage, because too many of them are uninsured, the rising premium,prescription drug costs, among others. As they become salient, these publicconcerns influence the reform possibilities contemplated by politicians and helpset the legislative agenda (Skocpol, 2003). Politically, many of thefirst-time-voters who elected President Barack Obama did so because they adheredto his health care campaign's promises; older voters' constituency was alsovital to his election as it will be for future political actions. Those are thepeople that Senators and House of Representatives will count on to bring themback to Congress at the end of their terms. Many media polls indicate thathealth care is a major domestic concern for Americans, second only to theeconomy. The News Media Network CBS reported that 57% of American would agreeto pay higher taxes for a universal coverage in United States, if such reformwould increase consumers' choices and create some competition in the privatehealth industry. Although Republicans are less likely to favor a nationalcoverage, but 66% of them agreed that the health care system needs to berethought (CNN, 2008).

The distressed stage of the current economy should also convince law makers toconsidering discussions about universal coverage. According to the United StatesDepartment of Labor, in April 2009, the unemployment rate was 8.9% (about 13million people). The professional and business services industry lost 122,000jobs. About 9.4% adult male, 7.1% adult female and 15.0% Blacks wereunemployed. Just a handful of unemployed individuals have a sort of healthinsurance. In 2007, about 43.3 million people (all ages) were not covered byany health insurance (CDC, 2008). Those statistics do not strengthen theMedicare and Medicaid systems, for less wage taxes are being collected by thestate and federal governments and consequently, their beneficiaries might end upgetting less medical care either now or in the near future. Employer-basedhealth insurance has been one of the major pylons of individual and/or familyhealth coverage in the country. The Census Bureau reported that the number ofpeople covered by employer-based has decreased from 60.2% in 2005 to 55.7% in2008 because of lost of businesses and the rise of the unemployment ratethroughout the nation. Small businesses that are unable to cover theiremployees, seek refuge in countries with cheaper labor, less regulation and lesscapital costs. By doing so, more individuals and families have lost their jobsand medical benefits and sought through government agencies and charitableorganizations for medical care, for they are not able to afford anyout-of-pocket medical services. Less medical care will increase the likelihoodof morbidity and mortality within human populations. These facts (among others)should persuade Law-makers _ along with public health professionals and healthcare organizations/providers _ to reopen discussions for universal health carein United States.

Many argue that despite the implementation of panoply of medical care programsthroughout the nation, the quality of care has not been improved. Therefore,the health care system needs to be redesigned.

[More out-of-pocket medical services to the immigrant community will decreasethe number of money transfer and/or the amount of $$$ sent back home to supportfamilies, parents and for charity].

(Literature cited:)

Aaron Henry J. The Costs of Health Care Administration in the United States andCanada — Questionable Answers to a Questionable Question. New England Journalof Medicine 349;8. Aug. 2003

Fuchs Victor R., Emanuel Ezekiel J. Health Care Reform: Why? What? When? HealthAffairs, Vol. 24, No. 6, pp. 1399-1414. Dec. 2005

Skocpol, Theda, and Patricia Seliger Keenan. 2005. "Cross Pressures: The Contemporary Politics of Health Reform." Chapter in Policy Challenges in ModernHealth Care. David Mechanic, Lynn B. Rogut, David C. Colby and James R.Knickman, eds. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

By: Macceau MedozileMRTG, 2009

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