An Analysis of the State of the Current American Health Care System Through the Study of Its History and Most Recent Quantative Data

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Ardern, Clark
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For the past fifty years the American health care system has turned into an inefficient, expensive and in turn discriminatory system which is heading for destruction unless some major action is taken soon. Between 1965 and 1985, the U.S. gross national product (GNP) grew fivefold, while spending on health care grew tenfold (22, p. 52). The purpose of this paper is to begin to understand the workings of the U.S. health care system including where it has been, where it is going, and what can be done to solve its inherent problems. Particular attention will be placed on pointing out most of its deficiencies as well as what has been attempted thus far to erase those deficiencies. The first step in understanding the system will be to briefly discuss some of the major issues or problems of the U.S. health care industry. This will provide a overview of the system•s current situation and will be used as a platform to begin studying the industry•s inherent shortcomings. The second step will be to begin researching into the the history of the U.S. health care industry so as to better understand the road which the system has come down. This will provide two main benefits: first, it will enable one to understand the basis of the system and, in turn, the major problems of the system and, second, it will point out many of the attempted corrective measures taken and failed thus far. In particular, the history covered will include from the turn of the century up to the present with much emphasis put on the government•s implementation of Medicaid and Medicare as well as the cost containment measures taken in the mid eighties to try and curb the negative spending effects of such programs. The next step will be to look at the system•s current situation by examining and analyzing the most recent U.S. health care expenditure data (1990). This data will be helpful in understanding the system's immediate situation by showing where the U.S. health care money comes from and where it goes to. Finally, the debate surrounding the many different solutions can be looked at and, hopefully, broken down to determine the best U.S. health care plan possible. The current solutions that will be evaluated include: 1. Taxing of currently non-taxable related compensation. 2. Creation of a national Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) type system 3. Initiation of more stringent cost-containment measures. 4. Preventive medicine. 5. A National health insurance policy. The health care issue in the United States is a high profile and volatile one which needs to be examined if any solution is going to be found soon. Of course, no solution is obvious nor simple and, as a result, one must be able to form their own opinions. The object of this paper is to not only provide its own solutions to U.S. health care issues, but also give the reader the ability to form his/her own opinions through the knowledge obtained in reading it.
v, 87 p.
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