A Reflection

Throughout this blog, I have done a large amount of research on the topic of health care in America. I have written many blogs and analyzed much data. This blog has helped me and my ability to sift through the piles of information and the lists of sites to find valuable facts and pages to better help me in my posts. I feel that this blog has ultimately helped me as a writer and my ability to connect with my readers. A blog is an excellent way to provide real-time written works and receive responses with the same speed. I enjoyed the ability to view what others were posting as they were posting it and I also enjoyed reading feedback from other users. For me, this blog has been an invaluable experience by letting me connect with my work and its affect on other people as well as actually being able to respond to those comments and further the discussion.

Take a Look

During my time on this blog, I have been following many of my classmates blogs as well. Here are some that I think are worth taking a look at.

Here is another blog about healthcare. It is always important to read up on a subject before coming to a conclusion. Therefore, you should not get all of your information from one source. Reading her blog will provide you with new ideas about health care. http://healthcarenc.wordpress.com/

Another blog worth reading is http://penaltyposts.wordpress.com/ . This blog gives a delightful insight into the gruesome reality of the death penalty. I would highly recommend that you check it out as this blog has some very valuable posts on the subject.

For a blog about North Carolina gun policy and the current controversy on that subject, visit this blog. http://ncandguns.wordpress.com/ It is well worth your visit. This blog provides examples and analysis of the stigmas and policies on gun control in North Carolina and is written by a North Carolinian as well. This blog provides a truly unique look at the issue from someone who has lived their life surrounded by it.

Suggested Reading

For those of you who wish to further your knowledge of this health care issue, here is a reading list I have created with links to more information.

For more background information on ObamaCare, use this link.  It gives you information about it and in an easy-to-read format with the basic facts about the reform and health care reforms in general. http://www.ontheissues.org/Background_Health_Care.htm

This is a very useful site that gives you information about how ObamaCare will affect the average citizen. In addition, it also provides links to other pages with more detailed information on each specific subtopic. https://www.healthcare.gov/how-does-the-affordable-care-act-affect-me/

Here is a site that clears up many of the myths and stigmas surrounding ObamaCare. It does a very good job of explaining what is true and what is myth and why. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/23/obamacare-change_n_3975425.html

https://www.healthcare.gov/why-should-i-have-health-coverage/ I found this link to be very helpful in explaining why health care is needed and how it benefits us as citizens.

 

If you would like to get a feel for health care from an actual medical professional’s point of view, here is a very interesting blog written by a woman in the health field. http://blog.inside-healthcare.com/

 

For an even more specific look at health care, here is a link to a document that gives reasons for the importance of health care in North Carolina. http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/health/state_hcb_09_nc.pdf

Lastly, if you wanted to read up on the spending in the health care area, this link provides an interesting look at how the United States is using its money when it comes to health care. http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterubel/2013/10/15/is-the-american-healthcare-system-addicted-to-expensive-new-drugs/

Implications Post

If the issue of American health care is not cleared up, then the public will continue to be denied an efficient health care system. Too much money goes into America’s health care system for each state to have a different policy and for there to be no unity in the nation’s health management. A divided nation cannot be expected to support a universal health care to all of its citizens.

The government will continue to try and reform health care, there is no question about that, but there are only so many different methods of “fixing” something like this. Some would even argue that the health care system is already dead.

Theory Post

In all likeliness, health care will always be an issue and I am almost certain that an agreement cannot be made on the issue. I feel this way mainly because of the many negative aspects of ObamaCare and its implications. For starters, there will be many new patients who have never had health care before. This can and has caused a demand in medical facilities with a surplus of new patients and a limited staff of medical professionals. In addition to this, the level and efficiency of medical care varies from state to state. Because each state has its own set of rules when it comes to ObamaCare, this causes much controversy. Democrats and Democratic states will have policies in place that support ObamaCare while Republican states will have policies opposing it.

While these are major obstacles, this post is about theorizing a way that would allow a common ground to be reached and bring about an ultimate solution to the issue. Firstly, the public must be educated on ObamaCare and how it will affect them. People should also be encouraged to join the medical profession to help with the higher demands of new patients. Lastly, the budget of the American health system must be reevaluated and reconfigured to allow for a more cost-effective health care system for the American people.

DIY Health Care

The method of health care in America is quickly becoming a very outdated process. The notion that one must go to one central building for your illnesses, no matter what they may be, ay have made sense in the past, but no longer. Americans now possess the power of instant communication at their fingertips. Aka: their phones, laptops, and other electronics. It is not necessary to travel to a distant hospital or specialist and then have to wait days or even weeks to have results back.

So why is this still the case? When we have the ability to send and receive messages real-time, shouldn’t we be taking advantage of that?

Americans should be taking advantage of the new technologies and “update” the medical system. Creating ways to access medical information online with a patient profile or having he ability to email your doctor a quick question, rather than having to go all the way to the office would be much easier on both the patient and the doctor. Patients can now have real-time conversations with their doctors over video-streaming apps and such. The need to go into a waiting room, fill out forms, and then head back to a room for such menial tasks is no longer required. The huge chunk of time medical care used to take out of the average citizens day can be reduced to only a few minutes!

Taking advantage of technologies like this would allow for a more personalized care, as well as give the patient access to this care anywhere they have access to their devices.

Now, I’m not saying this would work everywhere. More rural places with limited access to the Internet or cell phone signal would not be able to easily use this new system. However, in places like North Carolina, the technology does exist and we do have the ability to use it.

So why don’t we?

http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2013/10/08/healthcarediy-an-old-idea-made-new/

Analysis

Health care in the United States has been a topic of debate on both a political and economic field. The fight over health care is essentially a fight over what type of medical treatment the American populace will receive. That is, it determines who gets health care, who pays for the health care, how much is paid for it, and how the expenses are managed to create effectiveness.

The main issue surrounding American health care now is reform. The American government has been modifying, changing, and ultimately reforming its health care for quite some time. However, a new reform has surfaced with the election of Barack Obama.

This new reform for health care is the renowned ObamaCare. This health care reform was started in January 2013, and is projected to be completed by January 2014.

By January 1, 2013, all married couples who possess a joint income of over $250,000 will have an increase in their income tax by 0.9%. The same can be said for any self-employed or single persons who have an income of over $200,000 a year. In addition, people with an adjusted income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for couples) can expect a 3.8% increase in Medicare tax on their unearned income.

By August 1, 2013, any and all religious groups/organizations that have been granted one year of extension of “contraceptive mandate” will no longer be exempt. On top of this, beginning October 1, 2013, United States citizens will be able to purchase their own health insurance during the open enrollment for ObamaCare. Citizens of North Carolina specifically may make this purchase through the North Carolinian exchange through their very own insurance agent.

Finally, By January 1, 2014, ObamaCare will be completed. By its completion, ObamaCare will have accomplished family size and poverty level-based maximum out-of-pocket premiums. Tax on any uninsured person will come into effect as well as the elimination of higher rates based on preexisting conditions and/or gender. Insurers will no longer be allowed to create annual spending limits and all persons with an income of up to 133% of the poverty level will be able to qualify for the coverage in any state where Medicaid has expanded.

This will affect North Carolina specifically. For example, if an individual is already receiving coverage from their employment, the cost of their plan may rise as most businesses are pushing for more health care costs for employees in the form of more expensive deductibles and copays.

There will now be limits on the amount that these insurers can charge in addition to some structural and policy changes that are aimed to lower overall health care costs in North Carolina.

Tax credits will be available to Middle Class persons who are earning up to $90,000 per year for a family of four as well as for those who purchase health insurance through the online NC health insurance exchange that began October 1, 2013.

Medicaid will also be affected by ObamaCare. The health care reform intends to stretch the program over anyone wit an annual income of up to 138% of the poverty level (about $15,415 a year for those individuals). The US states may choose to opt out of this Medicaid expansion much like North Carolina did on February 13, 2013.

Many of you may be wondering just what exactly this health insurance exchange is so allow me to give you a brief summary of what it is, how it works, and what its role will be in ObamaCare. Each state may create their own form of exchange through three main types of exchange: a federal health insurance exchange, a state-funded partnership Exchange, or a state-based exchange. These exchanges will a collective for individuals, families, as well as small businesses in North Carolina may be able to purchase health insurance online. North Carolina originally intended to create a state-federal partnership, but the legislature decided upon a solely federal-run exchange.

The exchanges created will help lower the price of health care for people in North Carolina by giving the people more buying power when it come to their health care.

There will be four main coverage levels, which will include bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. These levels will come with different prices and determine the level of health care an individual will receive. The changes in requirements for the insurance plans will be directly correlated with the requirements for private health insurance that has been bought outside of the North Carolina exchange. Basically, if someone does not buy their health insurance through the North Carolina exchange, the costs and/or coverage of said plan is liable to changes when ObamaCare is completed.

This health care reform is going to affect the United State’s current condition of over-spending, inefficiency, and lost personalized patient care.

Firstly, it will have to address the issue of prices in the health field. America spends 50% more on its health system than any other developed country in the world. However, it is still lacking in valuable quality and affordability. The truth is, America is just not experiencing any benefits from the ridiculous amounts of money-spending. This has to do with the fact that the United States has a health care system that is one of the highest value-added sectors in the economy with a detrimentally wasteful system.

I the midst of all the spending, the US is halting its funding to important organizations and departments of health. Due to lack of funding, there has been a recent shortage of doctors. This would not be an issue normally, but since ObamaCare will allow a surplus of people to have access to services they did not previously have. While this is a good benefit for those patients, it is not so great if there are not enough doctors to supply the demand. Some doctors worry that with so many new patients, the primary care facilities will be filled and backed up behind schedule. This means that the overflow will surge into hospital emergency rooms and effectively clog the system.

Foster Care health care needs are also being looked over and funding for certain services are being cut. Foster children have a significant need for the services provided by health care. Some of these services include physical, dental, mental, and behavioral health needs. Children in Foster Care have a higher likeliness of needing restrictive/expensive services. These can include residential treatment, group care, inpatient psychiatric treatment, and emergency room services. However, though these services are almost a guaranteed necessity for these children, the funding for them is being cut.

Because my family is a foster home to these children, I know first-hand how difficult it is now to find the care these children need. Services that are normally provided no longer are and foster families are beginning to either figure out a new way to provide for the child or end up paying out of pocket.

Republicans believe that ObamaCare is an attack on the United States Constitution. The Republican Party believes that the reform was never about health care, but rather, that it was centered on power. The expansion of government control over 1/6 of the US economy resulted in an attack against the Constitution. They argue that it is wrong to require that the American citizen have to purchase health insurance. It would expand Medicaid and leave the states to take on the “unsustainable financial burdens”.

Health Care Plans

Democrats, on the other hand, believe that this reform is the best way for the American people to be able to afford health services needed. They argue that many people cannot afford the needed medical care and often take on tremendous debt as a result. They want to “preserve the promise of Medicare” and state that ObamaCare is the best way to do so.

Amidst all of the arguments and power struggles, some Americans are left wondering if there isn’t a better way that cuts out all of the unnecessary expenses, rules, regulations, laws, and reforms. They argue for a better health system itself, rather than trying to fix the broken one the United States has.

Rather than reforming health care, they argue that Americans now have the means and the technology to allow for a more personal medical care. They propose a form of care networking with online records and fast, easy access to medical professionals via online communication. This will allow for medical care anywhere and a more customized care for patients. Rather than treating patients as averages, this new method would mean each individual person would be able to have quick easy access to information and care.

ObamaCare would offer care that would blanket the masses in health care, but it is a far less personal approach. It is simply another new reform that promises to “fix” America’s already dying health care system. Much like our nation’s patients, we are treating the symptoms of a sick system, rather than trying to cure the system itself. However, some would say the system is incurable. In this case, a new approach to health care would be needed. For now, though, no one can safely say which would be better for America. Only time will tell.

Love Affair with Profit

So today I want to touch on my last post a bit and address the seemingly money-centered health care in the United States.

America spends a lot of money on its health care. Almost 1/5 of the GDP is spent on it. That is nearly 50% more than any other developed country in the world! It seems that for such a high price, America would be a leader in efficient and valuable health care. However, it appears that though we may be spending the most, we are not receiving the benefits. In other words, America isn’t getting its “bang for the buck.”

Most claim that the United States is over-spending due to a certain “over-treating” mentality of the medical field. The medical professionals order excessive tests, treatments, and surgeries that may not have necessarily been needed. People argue that there is less focus on the actual health of the patient and more focus on the profit to be made.

However, these “runaway costs” and overall weakening of patient health in regards to the abilities of modern day medicine are merely symptoms of the true illness in America’s health care system.

Simply put – American health care is centered on profit. We have lost sight of the Hippocratic Oath and have stopped focusing our efforts on the long-term doctor-patient relationship and have moved on to a more “corporate medicine.” No longer is American health care a function of a humanitarian society, but rather we are a profit-fixated country.

http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2013/09/18/us-health-spending-growth-projected-to-average-5-8-percent-annually-through-2022/

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/11/u-s-health-cares-dangerous-profit-fixation/

US vs World

Happy Monday everyone! Today, I will be giving you some more information and background on health care in America.

If you are an American, I am sure that you have thought about the price of health care at some point in your life. But are you aware that the United States spends over 2½% more on the health care services provided per person than other developed countries in the world? That is a lot of money!

Now, I know some of you are thinking, “Well, we Americans do have the best health care system in the world, so it is only logical that it should cost more.” Well, This isn’t necessarily true. You see, the United States has fewer physicians, hospital beds, and a shorter life expectancy than the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) average. The Average life expectancy in the US is 78.7 while the average of the OECD is 79.8 years! That is more than a year longer than the US citizen.

These numbers may not seem significant, but when the US spends more that twice the amount of other countries, it should at least have somewhat of a better health care system, if not significantly greater than the average. However, the US doesn’t even match the efficiency and falls short in some areas. Why is this? Where is all of this money going?

Rather than creating long lists of information, I have some graphs that demonstrate the information that may help shed some light on these questions.

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(For a more specific look at US spending on health care procedures visit:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/26/21-graphs-that-show-americas-health-care-prices-are-ludicrous/ )

Now, I realize that the US isn’t entirely horrid when it comes to its health care system. America is, after all, a leader in health care research and has some of the best cancer treatment in the world with higher survival rates of patients. However, this small amount of good does not necessarily outweigh the bad.

So what does this say about the US? What is America’s logic behind its costs and spending?

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/09/us-health-care/

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/10/health-costs-how-the-us-compares-with-other-countries.html

A Brief History of Healthcare in the US

Allow me to give you a general feel for health care in America. Health care in America has been a topic since 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt first called for a national health insurance system, which meant more government involvement in health care services. Since then, health care has become increasingly more detailed and has grown to affect the United States population in its entirety.

The US spends a significantly large amount of money on its health care, far more so than any other country by far. However, The US also has one of the least effective systems. This is partly due to the fact that in 1993, it became a requirement for every person in the United States to have a form of health insurance. While this isn’t the case today, it did spark much distress from the public and is when health care truly became a topic that concerned everyone in the US.

Recently, Barack Obama had promised to bring forth a quick and sweeping health care reform which would help the 40 million American people who he stated could not afford health insurance. He was definitely a strong supporter of a federally administered health care system. He wanted it to be government-run and it was referred to as the “single-prayer” health care system.

However, he had to compromise when it became clear that the idea of one giant reform was unpopular with the American people. Instead, Obama created a bill that whose ultimate goal was the reform he desired, but would take place in smaller steps. The main way of promoting this “incrementalism” was its stating the need of health care “exchanges” that everyone could buy a government-subsidized coverage.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/evanosnos/2012/06/so-let-me-explain-how-american-health-care-works.html

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=615