United States Health Care System

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17 Nov 2006

US Health Care System: Does the Public Get the Best Return vs. Investment

The United States spends more of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on healthcare then any other industrialized country in the world and because of this one would think that the U.S. provides one of the top universal healthcare plans for all citizens without health insurance. Furthermore, the U.S.’s overall health system performance is 37 out of 191 (qtd in U.S. Census Bureau), obviously 37 out of 191 is horrible especially because of the investment made by tax paying citizens. This problem affects a massive amount of Americans. Approximately 40 million Americans are without health insurance and because of the increasing expenditures the numbers of uninsured are only on the rise (McIntosh 83). The United States healthcare system should be just as good or better then any other countries because of the money invested. Every industrialized nation has some kind of basic healthcare system for all of their citizens (McIntosh 85). The United States has many factors to deal with in the healthcare crisis, however; this paper will cover four factors, which are to compare the healthcare strategies of the U.S. and other countries. The countries that will be looked at are Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom (U.K.). These countries provide a universal plan for all their citizens therefore comparisons will be made as to how exactly they achieve this goal and what the U.S. is doing wrong. The second objective is to look at the U.S.’s healthcare results, which will cover life expectancy at birth, life expectancy at the age of 65 and infant mortality. These results will then be compared to Canada, Germany and the U.K. The third objective is to breakdown what the U.S. spends on healthcare. The fourth and final objective is to identify healthcare problems and why expenditures are continuing to rise. Also, three main issues will be covered; they are the aging population, new technology, irresponsible employers with regards to immigration. In 1929 a medical plan was introduced between two physicians named Donald Roos and H. Clifford Loos of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, this agreement was known as the Roos-Loos clinic plan; this plan provided medical insurance for the workers and families of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s workers and their families (Radich 3). This laid the foundation for the idea of employer health insurance and over the years many other groups introduced this to many American workers and their families and the idea quickly spread throughout the country. As the U.S. stock market began to plummet in 1929, several American workers began to lose their jobs. This large loss of jobs caused a chain reaction through the U.S. economy, workers and their families had no money to spend; therefore other businesses began to fall. This began the dreadful economic period was known as the Great Depression. It was at this bleak time in U.S. history that the notion of a non-profit health care company was introduced. Initially, the state of Texas began a health care system for its citizens; know as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (qtd in A division of …). Also, during this time Dr. Justin Ford Kimball became a hospital administrator at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Prior to his position of hospital administrator Kimball was an educator in the city of Dallas. Strangely, the experience of this man from his previous and current employment position helped him to become known as the “Genesis of modern Health Insurance” (Elwood 252). Kimball being aware of the low pays of teachers, as well as, recognizing some of his former colleges names in the unpaid accounts at the hospital; led him to an idea that became a milestone in United States health care. He proposed that teachers pay 50 cents a month in advance to the hospital, which would allow the teachers to receive care at one hospital if ever needed in the future. This...
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