The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss the current level of national healthcare expenditures and to determine if we as Americans are spending too much on healthcare. The author of this paper will provide examples and solutions where we as a nation should add or cut from the healthcare expenditures. This paper will also detail how the general public's healthcare needs are being paid for, the biggest economic healthcare challenge, why the challenge should be addressed, and how this challenge to be financed.
The current level of national healthcare expenditures
The National health expenditures is defined as any funds spent on and for healthcare services. Healthcare funding consists of individual, public, and private sectors as well as funding for research and the construction of healthcare facilities (Delaware Health, n.d). Currently the national healthcare expenditure is at an all time high. In 2011 the national health expenditure was estimated to be around $2.8 trillion dollars (Heffler, Smith, Won, Clemens, Keehan and Zezza).
According to a report released by CMS the national health expenditure is expected to increase on average of 6.1% from the year 2009 to 2019 (CMS, 2011). During this same projection period spending on Medicare is expected to raise an average of 6.9%, and Medicaid 7.9% per year. In 2009 spending on hospital related services in the United States were estimated at $761 billion dollars and will average an increase of 6.1% over the next decade (CMS, 2011). Spending on physician cost and clinical services will grow by 5.4% while prescription drug cost will grow 6.3% during the projected period (CMS, 2011).
Is spending too much or not enough?
Healthcare spending in the United States is at a record high and continuing to grow. National healthcare spending in the U.S. is rising faster than inflation and national income rates. National healthcare spending climbed higher than $2.3 trillion dollars in 2008, an average of $7,681 per person (Kaiser, 2010). According to Marilyn Weber Serafini author of What To Look For In New Spending Numbers? Healthcare spending in 2009 accounted for 17.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (2010). While the numbers reflecting healthcare spending may be on the rise the question of rather or not we are spending too much on healthcare remains to be unseen; but it is possible that contributing factors such as caring for the aging population and advanced technology may be the root source of all the spending.
Where we the nation should add or cut from the health care expenditure
On March 23, 2010 President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This law was passed in part to aid in the reduction of the federal deficit (Obama Care, 2011). However many believe that the plan will do exactly the opposite and can be cut. Opposition of the health care law states that the plan will cause more government spending, an increase in Medicare taxes, penalize employers for not providing affordable insurance, and increase Medicare premiums of high-income beneficiaries (Obama Care, 2011).
It is the belief of the author of this paper that we as a nation should add more technology in an effort to help reduce national healthcare expenditures by implementing systems that are more interoperable, improve the billing process, eliminate, and reduce medication errors. Technology systems can help encourage lawmaker’s vision to create better access to healthcare services, improve upon best practices, and change the quality and delivery of healthcare. To further elaborate upon the author’s view point, the author would like to mention a report issued by United Health Group who is in support of technology as a means to reduce healthcare spending. The report titled Health Care Containment: How technology can cut red tape states that the implantation of technology systems can save the healthcare system...
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