Health Care Costs Analysis Healthcare is expensive and Americans want the best possible healthcare they can get. Consumers are demanding more tests, better drugs and insurance coverage. Americans desire a high quality of life and insurers / employers are trying to provide the means, but cost effectively and without raising costs. In order to do this, “consumers will have to make more decisions, pay more and perhaps demand greater value” (Barr, Paul).
“The common forces driving utilization and costs are medical technology advancement, demanding consumers, and an aging population” (Barr).
Advancements can be seen all over the medical field in areas such as MRIs, new cardiology procedures, highly specialized drugs, cancer treatments, and new laboratory procedures. Consumers are savvy and know their options. There is advertising from pharmaceutical companies and medical technology corporations promoting their drugs and products nationally via the Internet, magazine and television ads. The aging population is also living longer. This population is living longer due to technological advances and insurance coverage. A huge portion of this coverage provided is by Medicare.
Generations have paid into and depended upon this source of funding for years. It is projected that Medicare will be exhausted within the next 14 years. Currently Medicare “is the biggest single payer for just about every hospital” (Barr).
... products to ensure that no unsafe food or drug may surface to consumers. To do their job, each year the ... Commission prevents false advertising of food and drugs, along with cosmetics and other consumer products. The FTC also investigates business ... the Food and Drug Administration regulates unsafe food and drugs. Along with regulating food and drugs they also regulate medical devices and cosmetics. ...
Medicare was subject to a Medicare Modernization Act in 2003, which expanded benefits for prescription drug coverage. This Act creates a problem for the federal government: an even larger budget deficit. “Medicare eats up a large share of government expenditures…
there [is] not… enough money to keep Medicare as it now operates afloat. Everybody’s freaking about it” (Barr).
Providers who currently accept Medicare have even stated that they will not continue to accept this form of payment if the rates for service decrease or fees are not paid. There is also the issue of the uninsured and the underinsured whom generate charges for services that are not paid.
There are currently 45 million Americans without insurance. These people are not denied services when they are life threatening, therefore their unpaid bills are absorbed by the hospitals and providers thus passed on to the consumer in the form of higher charges for service. Those who have insurance and seek services are living longer. “As Americans live longer with chronic illnesses, the definition of good health that can be financed through insurance has been dramatically expanded” (Schaeffer, Leonard D. ).
This also translates into people expecting services for quality of life issues.
Some of those quality of life services are the prescribing of medications for erectile dysfunction (ED) and experimental cancer treatment drugs that have not been proven to be wholly effective. “Americans want unfettered access to the latest treatments” (Schaeffer).
This desire for the newest and greatest in medicine affects costs and spending. If consumers are given control of their costs and see directly where the money is coming and going, they may be less likely to seek non-essential care.
This may soon come in the form of Healthcare Savings Accounts (HSAs).
Patients will have an allotted amount of healthcare funds / coverage and they will be in charge of selecting the approved services and balancing their spending. It is hoped that if this change takes off consumers will be more responsible. “Americans consume too much healthcare and don’t want to pay for it…
.’ when you boil it down. It’s our own fault. It’s consumers who want something for nothing'” (Barr).
... began to demand that the rights and safety of the American consumers be considered in a new way. Ever since then ... variety of products and services at competitive prices; *the right to be heard- to be assured that consumer interests will receive full ... serious need for consumer protection was first identified in the late eighteen hundreds: a time when many Americans still felt that the ...
When you break it down, Americans will always want the best, but they may become more spendthrift and demand value for their allotted money. References Barr, Pauline.
An unhealthy economy: healthcare cost increases loom as long-term issue. (Special report: election 2004) Modern Healthcare, Nov 29, 2004 v 34 i 48 p 24. Retrieved May 3, 2005 from InfoTrac. Schaeffer, Leonard D.
The values debate in healthcare. (GUEST EDITORIAL) Clinical Psychiatry News, Oct 2004 v 32 i 10 p 10 (1).
Retrieved May 3, 2005 from InfoTrac.