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Health care is a vital service to every citizen; it must be accorded to him/her whenever he/she needs it. A healthy nation is a key element towards stable economic growth and development. United States has its share of problems when health care delivery to the citizens is looked at, but the Canadian health care delivery system needs more attention. A person can trust United States in delivering quick and qualified health care to its citizens, unlike the Canadian health system where one can die while still queuing to see a physician.Therefore, there is a lot to be done for Canadians to enjoy the quality of health care like Americans do.
United States health care system
The United States has a unique system of health care delivery (Leiyu and Singh 1). In contrast to the United States, most developed countries have national health insurance programs that are run by the state and financed through taxpayers’ money. Almost all citizens in such countries are entitled to receive health care services that include routine and basic/primary care. This is called universal access to the health care services; on the other hand, Americans are not entitled to such services.
The health care system in United States acts as a source of employment to a large number of individuals. Organizations and individuals involved in health care range from educational and research institutions, medical suppliers, insurers, payers and claim processors to health providers (Davidson 45). People are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, inpatient mental health hospitals, home health agencies and hospices. United States have approximately 5700 hospitals, 15,900 nursing homes, almost 2,900 inpatient mental hospitals, 11000 health agencies and hospices (Leiyu and Singh 1). The country has 14.4 million people employed in the various health delivery settings (Leiyu and Singh 1).
Approximately 800 programs have been designed to extend health care to various groups of people in the society (Leiyu and Singh 2). Citizens who have benefited from such programs include migrant workers and the homeless. Such institutions as community health centers, black lung clinics, clinics taking of HIV/AIDS and integrated primary health care and substance abuse treatment programs are also beneficiaries.
United States have a variety of firms extending health insurance to willing and able citizens; thus an individual can choose where to get treatment. There are 201.7 million Americans with private health insurance coverage, 40.3 million with Medicare beneficiaries and 38.3 million Medicaid insurance recipients (Williams and Torrens 143). Health insurance can be purchased from approximately 1000 health insurance companies and 70 blue cross/blue shield plans (Leiyu and Singh 12). A number of government agencies are involved with the financing of health care, medical and health services research. These agencies also regulate various aspects of the health care delivery system, ensuring that qualified health services are delivered to the enrollee in time.
Unlike Canada, United States have a health system which takes care of different categories of people in the country (Marchildon, McIntosh and Forest 141). The country doesn’t have a health delivery system enjoyed by everyone. Instead a multiple subsystem has been developed, either through interaction of demand and supply curves or the need to take care of certain segments of the population. The restricted access enables the service providers to collect enough funds for improving the status of health care services. The major subsystems include:
It seeks to achieve efficiency by integrating the basic functions of the health care delivery. It also employs mechanisms to control the use of medical services. It determines the prices at which the services are acquired and therefore, how much the provider gets paid.
Managed medical care is popular and highly adopted by the Americans today. The government or the employer is the primary financier of the managed care system. The financier contracts with a managed care system to offer a health plan to its employees. The organization functions like an insurance company and provides health care services to the employees contracted under the health plan. The financier chooses selected health providers from whom the enrollee can receive health care services. The care provider directly manages the routine services and determines appropriate referrals for high level of specialty services. The primary care provider rarely chooses such service providers as hospitals. Health services are delivered to the beneficiaries through physicians or diagnostic clinics. Managed health care is desirable since the task of negotiating with health providers is lifted from the employer and left in hands of the managed care organization.
Military medical care system
This type of service is available free of charges to the military personnel who are active in the U.S Army, Navy, Air force, Coast Guard and to certain uniformed non-military services. Davidson (12) recognizes that military medical care system is a well-organized and highly integrated system. It is comprehensive and takes care of preventive as well as treatment that is provided by qualified, experienced and salaried health care personnel, most of them being in the military or uniformed departments. Routine ambulatory care is provided close to the military personnel’s work place at the dispensary, first aid station and medical station. Routine hospital services are provided at the base dispensaries, in sick bays aboard ship and the base hospitals. In case of complicated health cases the victim is transferred to the regional military hospital. Families of active-duty military personnel are also treated at the hospitals or dispensaries or are covered by TRICARE, a program that is financed by the military. TRICARE is an insurance plan that permits the beneficiaries to receive care from private medical hospitals as well as those owned by the military department.
Military medical care system also comprises of Veteran Administration program, which was designed to extend health care services to those who have retired from the military. The families of the retired personnel also benefit from the program. Military medical care system provides high quality medical services to its beneficiaries.
Subsystem for vulnerable populations
A vulnerable population comprises of the poor, uninsured, immigrants and/or the minority group. In the United States this portion of the population receives health care services from “safety net” providers. These providers include health centers, physicians’ offices and hospitals, outpatient and emergency departments. Health centers are the most dominant safety net providers. These safety providers offer comprehensive medical care to the vulnerable group of people. Additionally, they offer such services as language translation, transportation, outreach, nutrition and health education. More so, they also extend such services as social support services, case management and child care to the vulnerable ones. Federally funded health centers have provided both preventive and primary health care services to the rural and urban disadvantaged people.
Government insurance programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and State Children’s Health insurance programs provide vulnerable populations with access to health care. Medicare and Medicaid are one of the largest sources of health insurance in the country. Both of them have departments which ensure that the disadvantaged, poor and the minority groups have access to medical care. State health insurance programs provide insurance to children from uninsured families. The insurance pays for physician visits, immunizations, hospitalizations and emergency rooms visits. It does so for a little or no cost.
Canadian health care system
National Health Service or Beverage-type care system is the dominant health care system in Canada (Garder 1). There is universal coverage for the country’s residents. Financing of the health care services is done by the government using tax revenue. Under this system every citizen is eligible to get subsidized health care from any governmental medical institution.
The existing public health system in Canada faces a lot of pressure. It has attributed to a situation in which people seek private health care under private health insurance or pay for the service directly. It is only those with financial resources are able to do so. The poor ones are left to queue in long lines in the public health centers and sometimes die while being in a line.
In Canada, the rate of infant mortality is on the rise. Statistics indicate that 40-60% of the children born in the poor families are likely to be born either too small, too soon or with growth retardation (David, Arcy, and Torrance 241). Those who survived the death immediately are posed to such dangers as disability throughout their infancy, childhood and adolescence. Adopting medical technology is a key avenue towards achieving a healthy nation. Canada is ragging behind in undertaking this role because of the large capital expenditure involved. This has attributed to the low quality health care services, since physicians still use the same old gadgets and hospitals retain the same traditional equipment.
Canadian government plays a major role in worsening the situation of low quality health services. According to statistics, 183.1 billion was spent in 2009 in health care, yet one could find patients dying in the hospitals’ corridors or lying at home in pain (Beach 45). The number of health institutions is not proportional to the number of patients. The government should, therefore, concentrate on providing quality health care that guarantees its citizens good care and recovery. The Canadian government should follow the example of the US system that ensures that everyone receives the required attention from the health centers all over the country.
United States health care system is a technology driven and focused on acute care. The country has been the home of research and innovations in the new medical technology. As a result, patients enjoy the best care, physicians use high quality gadgets in their operations and hospitals acquire modern equipment. Finally, United States health service system involves multiple players, ranging from the employers, government, insurance companies, physicians and health institutions’ administrators. Instead of having a large entity operating in the sector, there has been a balance of power. This ensures high quality primary or routine care; most of the patients feel satisfied by the services they receive from the health centers.