Government's Role on Health Care

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Introduction
Have you ever wondered exactly what the government does for our country in regards to health care? Many have the impression that the government is not really of much assistance to them. However, in reality, the government does more than most people realize. The government actually plays a vital role in health care but most people look past it. I am sure very few people have actually sat down and pondered or even have done research to find out the impact of the government’s role in health care. However, I intend to clear up this misconception. The federal and state governments are the largest supporters of health care services in the United States. Examples of support that our government provides include assisting those who are in need of health care with numerous options such as Medicare and Medicaid, the employment of millions of people, and billions of dollars each year for new discoveries, treatments, and cures. To start off, the government does indeed offer great assistance with programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, two of the largest programs that the government is involved in. Medicaid serves low-income families, and Medicare is for those that are sixty-five years or older, as well as those that are disabled. Medicare is the “second largest segment of the federal budget, second only to Social Security payments” (Manning) . Medicare alone covers about 45 million people, with 38 million being 65 or older, and the other 7 million being disabled. Medicare is “funded by the federal government as well as individual contributions from beneficiaries for premiums, copayments, and coinsurance” (Jaffe). On the other hand, Medicaid covers about 61 million people and is paid for by a combination of federal and state funds. Not only does the government provide those who are in need with Medicare and Medicaid, but there is also the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This program began in 1997, and is paid for jointly by the federal and state governments. Although this program is not free, enrollment fees are as low as $50 or less per family, depending on their income. The program covers roughly 7 million children with families that are unable to qualify for Medicaid. CHIP has benefits such as “prescription drugs and vaccines, Eye exams and glasses, Hospital care and services, and treatment of special health needs” (Commission). These programs provided by the government are there to help those who cannot afford insurance, which I, for one, am grateful for. Insurance is not affordable to many families due to the economy and I feel that just because a family or an individual cannot afford insurance does not mean they should not be able to attain it. If these programs were not available, then there would be many more sick or dying people across the nation because of lack of care. The reason I am in favor of these programs is because they have helped my family tremendously. For example, if my mother did not have Medicaid when she was pregnant, she would have had to pay a costly hospital bill. Furthermore, the government acts as an employer to individuals. States have created many different types of state-owned health care organizations that provide services to patients who cannot afford health care. “These services include assistance from general acute-care hospitals, specialty hospitals (mental hospitals), general health clinics, and specialized clinics (STD, family planning, maternal, and child health programs)” (The Role of State Government). All the employees of these hospitals and clinics are employees of the state government. Since the federal government is considered an employer, it “pays for a large share of the health coverage of nearly 9 million federal workers and their dependents, through Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program” (Jaffe) . The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program serves about 8.5 million people, including the president, members of Congress,...
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