Population Health Topic

The main issue discussed in the article is the rising costs of healthcare in the United States. According to the article, Healthcare costs have been an issue affecting the country for the last few decades. The costs of care spiral upwards and are always higher than the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).  The cost of healthcare in the country can be attributed to various factors. One is the GDP per capita, which affects the amount of income households have to spend on healthcare and other consumptions. Developed countries have high GDP per capita, which could explain the skyrocketing prices of healthcare services in the country (Reinhardt et al., 2004). Like the United States, other developed countries such as the Netherlands have high healthcare delivery costs. However, such countries spend almost half the amount that the United States spends on healthcare per annum.

The other source of the issue is the distribution of market power and prices.  Higher trained and professional healthcare workers tend to be highly compensated compared to those that have fewer levels of qualification or professional experiences. Healthcare is labor-intensive, and the USA citizens have to pay for the labor hours put in by such professionals.  The capacity of the healthcare system also affects prices. For instance, countries with a higher patient to physician or nurse ratios have lower healthcare delivery costs than those with lower ratios.

The key health economic issue is the affordability and access to care for all citizens of the country. The USA spends billions of dollars each year on healthcare. It is an economic burden to the taxpayer, especially when healthcare services have to be paid through payer systems.  It also affects the equality of care delivered to the citizens in the country. Those that cannot afford to pay for quality care end up not getting any care at all, which leads to social issues such as the manifestation of disease within a population and low productivity rates. The reimbursement issues associated with high costs are that healthcare professionals are often reimbursed through pay-for-service models. Such models encourage poor quality of services and higher healthcare costs to increase the earnings for healthcare professionals and healthcare organizations.

The increased cost of healthcare in the country has an impact on the health of the population. Individuals are not likely to afford care services, especially those that belong to marginalized groups. This leads to an increased mortality rate among such populations and also creates an unproductive population. High costs of care mean that essential healthcare services are not offered equally to all citizens. Those that can afford to pay for services receive better treatment than those that cannot afford quality care. It leads to health disparities that affect the way that populations within the nation develop.

High costs of care also mean that families will have less income to spend on other consumer goods such as food and shelter. Health is critical, and most people will choose health over any other essential need. This leads to communities stricken by poverty, increased crime rates as individuals try to get finances to support their medical bills. Healthcare costs have also led to the bankruptcy of many Americans who have been left in dire poverty. People have used up their retirement funds to cater to medical bills, and they are left with no money or income to sustain their lives. It leads to homelessness in the USA. To deal with the issue, the Affordable Care Act’s ‘Triple Aim’ could be used to solve the issues of cost and accessibility to care in the United States (Courtemanche et al., 2018). Reforming reimbursement models is also critical in ensuring that the system is not sucking out finances from citizens’ pockets but offering quality affordable care.

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