American Health Care
11 April 2004


The American Health Care system has prided itself on providing high quality services to the citizens who normally cannot afford them. This system has been in place for years and until now it did a fairly decent job. The problem today is money; the cost of hospital services and doctor fees are rising faster than ever before. The government has been trying to come up with a new plan these past few years even though there has been strong opposition against a new Health Care system.


There are many reasons why it should be changed and there are many reasons why it shouldn’t be changed. The main thing that both sides are heading towards is money. Both sides want to save money just in different ways. The movement for changing the Health Care system believes that there is a need for change because of the problems that the system faces today cannot be handled. Every month, 2 million Americans lose their insurance. One out of four, 63 million Americans, will lose their health insurance coverage for some period during the next two years 37 million Americans have no insurance and another 22 million have inadequate coverage. Losing or changing a job often means losing insurance. Becoming ill or living with a chronic medical condition can mean losing insurance coverage or not being able to obtain it. Long- term care coverage is inadequate. Many elderly and disabled Americans enter nursing homes and other institutions when they would prefer to remain at home. Families exhaust their savings trying to provide for disabled relatives. Many Americans in inner cities and rural areas do not have access to quality care, due to poor distribution of doctors, nurses, hospitals, clinics and support services. Public health services are not well integrated and coordinated with the personal care delivery system. Many serious health problems -- such as lead poisoning and drug-resistant tuberculosis -- are handled inefficiently or not at all, and thus potentially threaten the health of the entire population.


Rising health costs mean lower wages, higher prices for goods and services, and higher taxes. The average worker today would be earning at least $1,000 more a year if health insurance costs had not risen faster than wages over the previous 15 years. More and more Americans have had to give up insurance altogether because the premiums have become prohibitively expensive. Many small firms either cannot afford insurance at all in the current system, or have had to cut benefits or profits in order to provide insurance to their employees.


Those problems are just with the system, the main part of the problem comes from the insurance agencies. Quality care means promoting good health. Yet, the agencies wait until people are sick before they start to work. The agencies are biased towards specialty care and gives inadequate attentions to cost-effective primary and preventive care. Consumers cannot compare doctors and hospitals because reliable quality information is not available to them. Health care providers often don\'t have enough information on which treatments work best and are most cost-effective. Health care treatment patterns vary widely without detectable effects on health status. Some insurers now compete to insure the healthy and avoid the sick by determining insurability profiles while they should compete on quality, value, and service. The average doctor\'s office spends 80 hours a month pushing paper. Nurses often have to fill out as many as 19 forms to account for one person\'s hospital stay. This is time that could be better spent caring for patients. Insurance company red tape has created a nightmare for providers, with mountains of forms and numerous levels of review that wastes money and does nothing to improve the quality of care.


America has the best doctors who can provide the most advanced treatments in the world. Yet people often can\'t get treated when they need care. The medical malpractice system does little to promote quality. Fear of litigation forces providers to practice defensive medicine, ordering inappropriate tests and procedures to protect against lawsuits. Truly negligent providers often are not disciplined, and many victims of real malpractice are not compensated for their injuries. Purchasing insurance can be overwhelming for consumers. With different levels of benefits, co-payments, deductibles and a variety