Health and Well-Being Issues

health care

The health care field is vast and includes medical, dental, veterinary and allied healthcare occupations. Workers in these occupations help maintain and improve the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities by providing a range of services including preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, and restorative care. The demand for health care services is growing and it is projected that these occupations will continue to be some of the fastest-growing occupations through 2022.

In the United States, health care is provided both by private providers (general practitioners and specialists) and public agencies such as hospitals and community clinics. A significant portion of health care costs are covered by insurance. Individuals may obtain health coverage through employment-related group health plans, privately purchased insurance or publicly-financed programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The majority of the population receives some form of health insurance through their employer.

Some of the issues that influence health care include access, cost, quality and distribution. People who do not have health insurance often forgo recommended healthcare procedures or don’t follow up on test results that indicate a potential problem. Health care costs can be prohibitive, and individuals without adequate financial resources can find it difficult to secure needed health services.

Individuals may also be limited in their ability to get healthcare due to other nonfinancial barriers such as distance from a health care provider, transportation challenges or linguistic and cultural differences. People living in poverty are at higher risk of poor health outcomes, often due to a combination of factors including lack of health insurance, diets high in fat and sugar, and lifestyle behaviors such as excessive drinking and smoking. These factors can be influenced by interventions to increase availability of healthcare and improve communication with doctors.

A major issue in the debate about the proper role of government in health care is how much of a role it should play. Some individuals and groups believe that health care should be a fundamental right, while others argue that the government should stay out of it and let healthcare operate as a free market. Individuals with libertarian sympathies may see the government’s only appropriate role as regulating malpractice and maintaining order in healthcare.

When considering the allocation of healthcare resources, the needs of future generations may also need to be taken into consideration. For example, if the current generation exhausts all of its healthcare resources and fails to provide for future needs, it may not be morally just to leave a depleted system for the next generation to sort out. This could involve ensuring that funds are set aside for training new clinicians and building new hospitals or establishing new public funding streams to allow research to continue.

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