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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Discuss at least two major reasons why health outcomes are poor in the United States

Discuss at least two major reasons why health outcomes are poor in the United States compared to other first-world countries and recommend at least two public policies to improve health care quality. Make clear in your entry if they are policies already adopted, proposed by others, and/or ones that you would propose.

Being a first-world country, anyone would genuinely assume that the US healthcare system ranks among the best in the world.
But this is not the case!
The World Health Organization 2000, ranked the US health care system 37th in the world.
Despite being top leaders in biomedical research, boasting cutting-edge technology, modern hospitals, and healthcare specialists, healthcare outcomes in the US are significantly lower relative to other OECD countries. This is absurd owing to the fact that the US has been increasingly spending a good portion of its GDP on healthcare. Healthcare expenditure has increased tenfold to the current average rate of $2 trillion annually in the past three decades, higher than other OECD countries with better health care outcomes.
But what would possibly explain these deficiencies?
One major reason is that healthcare is extremely costly in the US. Unlike other first-world countries, the United States does not have a national healthcare system and health insurance. The US national insurance sector is dominated by both public and private organizations. Citizens under the age of 65 are expected to cover their medical costs, most of which are given by private insurance organizations funded through their employer. This makes health care very costly for the significant portion of the population without insurance. The 8.5% of the Americans without insurance are left to depend on emergency departments for chronic and preventative care.
Also, access to healthcare services is limited. This is particularly pronounced for people residing in rural and underdeveloped parts of the country. The supply of primary healthcare providers and family physicians is significantly low compared to the populations who seek primary care services. Those who are lucky to access primary health care end up getting suboptimal service.
Various policies have been proposed and others already implemented in a quest to improve the quality of health care in the United States. Among them, I have identified and proposed two respectively that I feel have potential in revolutionizing the US healthcare system
The first policy is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), famously known as “Obamacare.” The act was proposed and enacted in 2010 by former President Barack Obama and sought to address various issues concerning health care and insurance. It requires every American to apply for health care insurance except for a few protected groups. The end goal was to transform health care delivery and see that as many citizens as possible are insured.
This second policy is a personal proposal. Most of the finances allocated to the healthcare sector are used to fund expensive researches and purchase equipment. Based on this, I would propose a policy that focuses on cutting down these costs and using the finances for other purposes like funding the construction of more community clinics health centers and employing more primary health care providers. The goal would be to promote access to primary health care services by the people.
References
Erickson, Shari M., et al. “Envisioning a better US health care system for all: health care delivery and payment system reforms.” Annals of internal medicine 172.2_Supplement (2020): S33-S49.
Shrank, William H., Teresa L. Rogstad, and Natasha Parekh. “Waste in the US health care system: estimated costs and potential for savings.” Jama 322.15 (2019): 1501-1509.

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