No one is immune to the rising costs of health care. Consider the following news stories:
- “In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job” (Halle & Seshamani, 2009, Introduction, para. 1).
- “President Obama’s health care law is putting new strains on some of the nation’s most hard-pressed hospitals, by cutting aid they use to pay for emergency care for illegal immigrants, which they have long been required to provide” (Bernstein, 2012, para. 1).
- “Doctors in America are harboring an embarrassing secret: Many of them are going broke. This quiet reality, which is spreading nationwide, is claiming a wide range of casualties, including family physicians, cardiologists and oncologists…Doctors list shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, rising business and drug costs among the factors preventing them from keeping their practices afloat” (Kavilanz, 2012, para. 1, 2, 5).
In this Discussion, you examine the overall state of health care costs in America, the different factors impacting the finances of health care organizations, and the effect of rising costs on all stakeholders.
- Review the Learning Resources on the level of health care spending in the United States.
- Consider the ramifications of continuing at this level of spending as well as issues involved with reducing spending.
- Reflect on which stakeholders (payers, providers, and the general population) should be responsible for making decisions on health care spending.
By Day 3
Post an assessment of the consequences (on payers, providers, and the general population) of continuing current levels of health care spending in the United States as well as the potential consequences of reducing the level of spending. Explain which stakeholders should make health care spending decisions and why.
Expert Solution Preview
The rising costs of health care in the United States have significant consequences for various stakeholders, including payers, providers, and the general population. This discussion will assess the potential outcomes of maintaining the current level of health care spending in the United States and explore the potential consequences of reducing this level. Additionally, the responsibilities of different stakeholders in making health care spending decisions will be considered.
Continuing the current levels of health care spending in the United States has several consequences for payers, providers, and the general population. From the payer’s perspective, such as insurance companies and individuals, the burden of increasing premiums and out-of-pocket expenses is likely to persist. The rising costs may lead to financial strain for payers, resulting in limited access to health care services and potential delays in seeking necessary care. The escalating expenses also jeopardize the affordability of health insurance plans, making it a challenge for individuals and families to secure adequate coverage.
For providers, the consequences of continuing high health care spending levels involve financial strain and the potential for reduced reimbursement rates. As mentioned in the news stories, shrinking insurance reimbursements and rising business and drug costs are contributing factors to the financial challenges faced by doctors. This financial pressure may lead to physicians closing their practices or limiting the services they provide, ultimately impacting the availability and accessibility of health care for the general population.
The general population is affected by the rising costs of health care in various ways. Firstly, higher health care expenditures may result in increased taxes or reduced government spending on other programs. This could potentially limit the availability of resources for other essential public services. Secondly, individuals and families may have to make difficult choices regarding their health care needs due to financial constraints. Rising costs can lead to delayed or avoided treatments, ultimately impacting the overall health outcomes of the population.
Reducing the level of health care spending in the United States also carries potential consequences. While cost reduction may alleviate the financial burden on payers and increase affordability, it could result in compromises in the quality and accessibility of health care services. Budget cuts may lead to limited resources for medical facilities and workforce, potentially leading to longer wait times for appointments, reduced access to specialized care, and fewer available treatment options. Furthermore, cost reduction measures may also influence the recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals, resulting in workforce shortages and negatively impacting the provision of care.
In terms of decision-making on health care spending, it should involve all stakeholders – payers, providers, and the general population. Each group holds a unique perspective and has a vested interest in the outcomes. Payers play a crucial role as they bear the financial responsibility of health care costs. Their involvement ensures that expenditures are reasonable and sustainable. Providers, including healthcare professionals and organizations, should also have a say in spending decisions as they possess frontline knowledge of the healthcare needs and can contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. Finally, the general population should be afforded the opportunity to participate in decision-making, as they ultimately bear the consequences of cost fluctuations and are directly affected by the results.
In conclusion, the repercussions of continuing current health care spending levels in the United States and reducing these levels have significant implications for payers, providers, and the general population. All stakeholders should be involved in decision-making to ensure a comprehensive and balanced approach that addresses the financial sustainability of the system while preserving quality, accessibility, and affordability.