Health Care Policy

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Abstract

The number of uninsured Americans is greater than the total population of Canada (Lambrew, Podesta, & Shaw, 2005). Conservative 2004 estimates indicate that there were 41.6 million uninsured persons of all ages (14.5%) and 51.0 million (17.7%) were uninsured for at least part of the year (Cohen, Martinez, & Hao, 2005). By 2013, projections suggest that one in four Americans under the age of 65, nearly 56 million people, will be without health care insurance because coverage will be too expensive (CQ Health beat News, 2005). The United States spends more money on health care than other industrialized nations but is the only one that doesn’t ensure health care coverage for all citizens. Every year, approximately 18,000 unnecessary deaths occur because of health insurance lacking in the United States, (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2002). Proponents of universal health care coverage say this problem is fixable but only if a significant overhaul of our current insurance system occurs. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 is not a universal coverage plan but is designed to decrease the number of uninsured.

This lack of coverage leading to debt and personal bankruptcy results in billions of dollars in uncompensated care that get passed through the health care system to taxpayers when the uninsured obtain care from hospitals (Reinhardt et al., 2004). Approximately, $100 billion was spent in 2001 to care for the uninsured, therefore, when considering the cost of covering the uninsured with meaningful health benefits, it is fundamentally justified to create policy solutions. (Reinhardt, 2003). One strategy for extending coverage is through expansion of public coverage through Medicaid and SCHIP. In 2000, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) formed an expert Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance to study the issue comprehensively, examining the effects of the lack of health coverage on individuals, families, communities and the broader society. (IOM, 2004). According to the IOM (2004), if everyone had coverage people would be financially able to have a health problem checked, to seek preventive and primary care promptly and to receive necessary, appropriate, and effective health services. Also, hospitals would be able to provide care without jeopardizing their operating budget. The Committee IOM (2004) believes that this picture could become reality and this is an image worth pursuing because the costs of uninsurance to all of us, such as financial, societal and health are great. The Committee designed four prototypes and recommended principles to assess their proposals for extending coverage to everyone. These models include strategies under discussion in the public debate but are not necessarily representative of any legislative proposals favored by any specific politician or advocacy group. (IOM, 2004). This paper will provide a more in depth look at this major challenge facing our nation, cover the current strategy being implemented, review the IOM 2004 Committees proposal solutions and review my current political involvement.

I. Analysis of Law

Policy Problem
In 1978, the World Health Organization (WHO) made a Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care, establishing the principles of health as a human right and placing health at the center of an overall human development agenda.(WHO, 2008). At the heart of the Declaration was the understanding that public health evolves from the economic, socio-cultural and political characteristics of the country. In 2007, Dr. Margaret Chan took the office of Director-General of WHO and reaffirmed that all nations provide a basic level of health care to their citizens. (WHO, 2008). In 2008, she declared it was the 30th year anniversary of the Declaration of Alma-Ata and while global health context had made enormous progress our collective failures to deliver these values were painfully obvious as mothers were...
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