Shmeka L. Williams
August 13, 2013
There are far too many Americans uninsured for adequate healthcare. Contrary to what some people believe; it is not just the unemployed or impoverished who have trouble getting adequate healthcare for themselves and their families. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than “45 million Americans did not have health insurance during the first nine months of last year” (Young, 2013). A staggering eight in ten working families cannot afford health insurance; and most are not eligible for public programs. Nearly 20 percent of the uninsured are children. (“The Uninsured,” n.d.). Unfortunately, this issue affects everyone because the cost of the uninsured raises the cost of the insured. It is a vicious cycle because once the cost is raised so high, the insured can no longer afford insurance and are now among the uninsured. People who are uninsured can have adverse health effects because medical care such as preventative healthcare, check-ups, prescriptions, and immunizations are things they cannot afford. When people are sick, it not affects them personally, but it also affects the nation as a whole. When the employed who cannot afford health insurance have health problems, they could become too ill to work. Not being able to work affects their household because now they need public assistance. Of course, this affects the economy as a whole because instead of money going back into the nation’s economy by gainfully employed workers, money is coming out to care for people who were once able to work because they were healthy enough to do so and now are not. This issue affects stakeholders as well because they have a vested interest in the healthcare organization. Stakeholders in a healthcare setting can include hospital providers, physician providers, employers, patients, third-party payers, and even the government. This issue impacts each and every one of these constituents in terms of cost, quality, and access for proper healthcare.
Hospital providers are affected by this issue because most of the uninsured as well as the insured know that they cannot be turned away if they come to the emergency room. This means that there is an influx of emergency room patients with overcrowding, long wait times, and redirecting ambulances to other hospitals. Emergency room staff is overworked and underappreciated. Hospitals have increasing amounts in unpaid medical bills because of the increasing number of patients without insurance. According to the New York Times article, “Uninsured Put a Strain on Hospitals,” the public hospital system, Denver Health expects that $300 million of the care it delivers will never be paid because of people’s inability to do so. (Abelson, 2008). This cost is an astronomical amount for hospitals to absorb due to uninsured patients who have no choice but to go where they will not have to pay anything. Doctors in overburdened emergency rooms are not able to give patients the quality of care that each of them need and deserve. There are just too many people to see, and that must be seen as expeditiously as possible. Although access to care is possible when the uninsured show up in the ER, it is limited.
The physicians who oblige uninsured patients are internal stakeholders who generally work for a “for-profit organization” (Johnson, 2009). Physicians as well hospitals shoulder the financial burden of the uninsured. They incur billions of dollars in bad debt or “uncompensated care” every year. Physicians, in particular, incur an average cost of $138,300 each year from emergency bad debt, “according to a May 2003 American Medical Association study” (“The Uninsured,” n.d.). High quality care provided by emergency room physicians is declining because of the declining payments provided by health care plans...
References: Abelson, R. (2008, August 8). The Uninsured Overwhelm Emergency Rooms - NYTimes.com. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved August 14, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/business/09emergency.html?pagewanted=all&_r0
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Cafasso, E. (2011, March 21). How health-reform stakeholders will be affected by recent changes: PRSA: Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Retrieved August 14, 2013, from http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/TheStrategist/Articles/view/9071/1028/How_health_reform_stakeholders_will_be_affected_by
Johnson, J. (2009). Health organizations: Theories, behavior, and development. Boston: Jones and Bartlett.
Kelly, E. (2011, September 28). How the uninsured affect the insured - Stand Up for Health Care. Stand Up for Health Care. Retrieved August 15, 2013, from http://www.standupforhealthcare.org/blog/how-the-uninsured-affect-the-insured
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (n.d.). Health Reform Bill. Retrieved August 14, 2013, from www.dpc.senate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill52.pdf
The Uninsured: Access to Medical Care. (n.d.). College of Emergency Physicians. Retrieved August 14, 2013, from http://www.acep.org/News-Media-top-banner/The-Uninsured--Access-To-Medical-Care/
Young, J. (2013, March 21). Uninsured Americans 2012: More Than 45 Million Lacked Health Insurance Last Year, CDC Reports. Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 14, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/uninsured-americans-2012_n_2918705.html
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