The American Healthcare System
Is the Healthcare system in America really broken?
If is broken how and why it broken is and can it be fixed?
Two simple questions, without a simple answer to either. In this paper were going to try and answer these questions and a few other important questions about the healthcare system in our country. The paper is broken up in to three sections. In section one, we will discuss the problems with the American Healthcare system and we will try and clear up some of the often misrepresented facts about the healthcare problems and solutions to fix them. In section two, we will present some of the solutions being put forward to fix the healthcare system, including plans by both Presidential Candidates and one by the American Medical Association. In the final section we will we will give our own thoughts the healthcare problem and what if anything we think needs to be done to fix it.
Section One: Mythbusters the Healthcare Edition.
The number Game
When it comes to trying to understand the problems with the American Healthcare System you can’t blame people for being confused. Partly because it is a very complex subject, but the confusion is only made worse because the media, politicians, and different Advocacy groups will often give different numbers and facts about the problems. Some of this is simply confusion on their part or a simple mistake, after all even one of the current candidate Presidents gives two different numbers of how many people don’t have health insurance on his own website (Obama, 2008). However, sadly most of the time they are playing a numbers game or using political spin. In this section we are going to try and clear up some of the confusion and spin. Myth: 47 million people living in the United States lack health insurance, or is that 46 million. Wait maybe 54 million. Truth:
According to the U.S. Census Office 2007 Report on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States (DeNava-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2008) as of 2007 the number of people in the US without Health Insurance is 15.3% [45.7 million].This number is actually down slightly from the 2006 number of 15.8 % [47 million]. The report also states that the number of people with health insurance increased to 253.4 million in 2007 up from 249.8 million in 2006. This includes both an increase in the number of people covered by Private Insurance and Government Insurance Plans.
Figure 1 - Coverage by Type of Health Insurance
Myth: Most poor and middle class American’s cannot afford insurance. Truth:
This is a very common statement made by a lot of the Socialized Healthcare and Single Payer Advocacy groups and it is true that the percentage of Americans at or below the poverty level in the United States is similar to the percentage of Americans without insurance (See Table 1), but it very hard to back up the claim that most of the middle class cannot afford insurance.
While there is no formal definition of what makes up the Middle Class in the United States, and the definitions used by government agencies and political groups are always changing, the most common used definition is a range of 33% below to 50% above the Median House Hold Income. As of 2007 the Median House Hold Income in the U.S. is $50,233 (DeNava-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2008) using this number and the US Census Office 2007 data on Percentage of Population Insured by Income (See Table 2) you can see that the percentage of the population who fall within the middle class definition stated is more likely to have healthcare insurance than not have it.
Table 2 - Percentage of Population Insured by Income (DeNava-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2008) Myth: Most other Countries have free Healthcare so why can’t we? Truth:
The truth is that no countries have free healthcare. While many do provide better services to people who cannot pay for healthcare themselves all healthcare is paid for by the people in some way....
Cited: CIA. (2008, September). World Fact Book. Retrieved September 25, 2008, from CIA - Central Intelligence Agency: http://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html
DeNava-Walt, C., Proctor, B. D., & Smith, J. C. (2008, August). Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007. Retrieved October 1, 2008, from U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p60-235.pdf
McCain, J. S. (2008, September 25). Straight Talk on Health System Reform. Retrieved September 25, 2008, from McCain Palin 2008: http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/19ba2f1c-c03f-4ac2-8cd5-5cf2edb527cf.htm
Obama, B. H. (2008, September 25). Healthcare. Retrieved September 25, 2008, from Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need 2008: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/
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