Technological advancements have transformed healthcare dissemination systems and procedures making them more sophisticated and of high quality in line with the current development trend registered globally. The continuously increased healthcare cost has constrained the financial capabilities of the low-income earners and the minorities. The healthcare insurance policies available have also increased their premium and therefore marginalizing or gating the low-income earners and the minorities making their medical bills unbearable and therefore making health unaffordable in most parts of the world. The African Americans, Asians, Indians Americans and other minority tribes in the united states have been at the receiving end because access to job opportunities and hence high income to cater for their medical bills is not considered and hence making the burden even heavier. The different income levels and the race issues have led to increased disparities and the level of discrimination in the healthcare sector. Health is a basic need and therefore the discrimination and the disparities registered in the healthcare facilities have gone against people’s rights making it an area of great concern not only by the health sector but also by the whole nation.
Healthcare cost variations
The healthcare cost in the United States has become one of the most expensive services as compared to other developed countries. The increased healthcare cost has constrained the budget’s allocation in all the other departments and threatened the solvency of the health insurance bodies in the United States. Despite the increased healthcare cost and the claim of advancements in the public health, medicine, and biomedical science the quality of health care remains inconsistent. The underuse overuse and misuse of various healthcare services endanger the lives of the patients denying them the chance to receive the best medical care.
One of the most striking variations in the healthcare variation is the cost of maintaining a patient in a ventilator in different hospitals or states. In Washington Dc, it costs $53,000 to maintain a patient in ventilator in a low class hospital as compared to a high-class hospital in the same state which charges $115,000 for the same service (Healthcare Cost Containment, 2015). According to Healthcare Cost Containment (2015) the average cost of a pregnancy ultrasound $522 in Cleveland as compared to Canton, Ohio where it stands at $183. The average cost of replacing a knee in Palm Bay according to Healthcare Cost Containment (2015), was $44237 as compared to Miami where it stood at $27115. The procedures used to do the above-mentioned procedures as per the study were the same, and hence this shows that the level of price discrimination is way high in the different locations. This has shown a high level of price discrimination for the same service and hence making customer trust and loyalty lower in different medical facilities services offered. In the year 2015, the healthcare cost stood at 17.8% of the average gross domestic product that is $3.2trillion a 5.8% increase from the year 2014 (Healthcare Cost Containment, 2015). The increase has registered an upward trend as compared to the year 2014 where it registered a 5.3% increase, therefore, registering the fastest increase in the health care cost since the year 2007 (Healthcare Cost Containment, 2015). The variations in the healthcare cost and the health care price discrimination have affected the health care affordability and most especially for the minority groups and the low income earners.
Racial discrimination and disparity in the healthcare sector
Access to high-quality healthcare is a major issue in the United States with most of the minority groups being denied the chance to access high quality healthcare on racial basis. The HIV cases in the United States greatly lies with the minority groups registering 50% of the total infected population with the whites only registering 25% of the overall cases (Williams, 2016). The mortality rate in the United States is 2.5 times higher in the African Americans and 1.5 times higher for the American Indians as compared to the whites (Hyatt & Hopkins, 2016). The minority groups that are the Asians, Africans Americans and Americans Indians constitute 33.4% of the American population (Williams, 2016). This percentage is much bigger and has therefore called for considerations in the healthcare budget as failure to consider them through discrimination has negatively affected the health condition of the entire nation reducing the national productivity. Disparities and discriminations mostly undermine the healthcare services delivery as not all the people in the state have access to proper and high-quality healthcare services (Hyatt & Hopkins, 2016). The minority groups lack proper representations and therefore being locked out in the healthcare reforms and campaigns in the country. They lack competent and determined people to push for their grievances, and therefore they have been locked out in most of the healthcare programs making their health deteriorate.
Healthcare campaigns and organizations implemented in the United States
The government has acted towards reducing the healthcare cost by coming up with programs and campaigns aimed at reducing the health care cost. The programs have however not been fully effective as the implementation, and the running of the program has not yet been properly upheld. Some of the programs that have been introduced include Medicare, Medicaid, and children health insurance program (Kronenfeld, 2016). The Medicare program is meant to take care of the people aged 65 years and above by providing them with health insurance policies affordable at that level (Kronenfeld, 2016). Most of the people at that age are vulnerable to diseases and hence failure to consider their health conditions leaves a gap which bites back to the health care budget at the end. The Medicare program has been able to cover 17% of the people with 65 years and above therefore leaving a big gap uncovered (Kronenfeld, 2016). This can be because creation of awareness has not been greatly emphasized and hence making the program lacks a positive and a mass reception by the public. Approximately 60% of the remaining elderly people are left to be covered by the other health insurance policy bodies where the cost is uncontrollable and hence making it unmanageable (Kronenfeld, 2016). Leaving the healthcare insurance policy in the hands of the private entities has led to commercialization of the service and hence exaggerating the figures at the end. This has adversely affected the low-income earners as well as the minority groups as they are not given equal chances to access the policies due to price discrimination and the increased levels of healthcare disparities. Medicaid program, on the other hand, was meant to lower the medical cost for some people with limited resources and income (Gruber, 2016). It helps in offering health care benefits not offered in Medicare, programs such as nursing home care and personal care services. Medicaid pays for health care cost after all the other insurance policies have paid (Gruber, 2016). The reason as to why it is embraced is because the insurance policies may not cover a bigger proportion of the medical bill and after stepping in it helps reduce the burden to an affordable level for the patient. Children that qualify for children health insurance program don’t have to consider another insurance plan to cover their health as it covers children between 0-18 years (In Nicholson, 2015). Children health insurance program works in line with Medicaid program and is mostly used for those children whose parents earn much more money such that they cannot qualify for the Medicaid program. The program has helped reduce the percentage of the children under the health insurance policy from 13.9% in the year 1997, to 4.5% in the year 2015 (In Nicholson, 2015). The recent data obtained has shown that approximately 8.4 million children had been enrolled in CHIP by the year 2015 (In Nicholson, 2015).
Health is a critical issue, and the fact that it is a basic need means that leaving it in the hands of a few individuals undermine the people’s rights. Campaigns and organizations that are developed to check on healthcare affordability should strive to be effective through increased creation of awareness and ensure that they promote the new healthcare technologies and the expertise hence reducing the mortality rate and other healthcare conditions. The healthcare aims and objectives in line with the healthy people 2020 program aims and objectives can only be achieved by making sure that there are sensitization and creation of awareness across the nation. This could be made so by ensuring that there are community health care extensions programs and other organizations or campaigns that are meant to cater for the minority and the low-income earner’s healthcare welfare. The health sector should also shift its attention from minor health issues and focus on chronic diseases and their prevention as they take the biggest percentage of the nation’s health budget and hence constraining the other projects. The shift on the prevention measures for other diseases should be emphasized on as well as early diagnosis and treatment of various health conditions and taking them to the extreme makes the whole issue of treatment and maintenance much more expensive for the people and the nation at large.
Gruber, J. (2016). Medicaid. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
Healthcare Cost Containment. (2015). Healthcare Financial Management Assn.
Hyatt, T., & Hopkins, B. (2016). Healthcare Organizations. Wiley.
In Nicholson, M. H. (2015). Children’s health insurance: Comparisons of CHIP coverage.
Kronenfeld, J. J. (2016). Medicare. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.: Greenwood.
Williams, R. A. (2016). Eliminating healthcare disparities in America: Beyond the IOM report. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press.