The Importance of Health Care in America

Health care is the improvement of patients’ health by diagnosis, treatment and amelioration of disease, injury or other physical or mental impairments. It involves activities of a wide range of health professions and other related industries including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, midwifery, nursing, occupational therapy, speech pathology, physical therapy, psychology, audiology, optometry, and veterinary science. It also includes health-related research and education, and public health.

The health-related industries provide a variety of services to individuals, families and communities. They include hospitals, medical and dental practice activities, allied health professions, residential health facilities and laboratory services, health insurance and patient advocates.

Some countries spend more than others on their health systems. While many factors contribute to different levels of performance, the United States stands out as a stark exception in how much it spends as a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP) and the rate at which health care spending has risen over the years.

While many factors contribute to this anomaly, one key is the way Americans buy and use health care. In many cases, consumers lack the information needed to make informed choices about health care. Others face nonfinancial barriers that prevent them from receiving needed care, such as a lack of nearby providers, illiteracy or linguistic or cultural differences. For these reasons, health insurance is an important aspect of the American healthcare system.

It helps connect people to a source of regular healthcare, allowing them to avoid the financial repercussions of illness and accidents that can cost thousands or even millions of dollars. It also provides peace of mind that comes with knowing that one unexpected illness or accident won’t bankrupt you. Unfortunately, many Americans are still unable to afford quality health insurance coverage. In fact, a recent survey found that more than 48 million people are uninsured and have trouble paying their premiums.

Most Americans get health insurance through their employers, with some also purchasing individual or family plans on the marketplace. When selecting a plan, it is important to compare the benefits, deductibles, copayments and out-of-pocket costs as well as premiums. It is also crucial to check whether your preferred physicians and health care facilities are part of the plan’s network.

Another factor that limits access to health insurance is the administrative processes that accompany it, which can make it difficult for patients to choose a plan that meets their needs and budget. Some of these administrative processes are driven by the need to ensure adherence to government regulations and others by concerns about malpractice and the possibility of unintentional harm caused by medical errors, known as iatrogenesis. Patients are further divorced from their choices and options when they are required to use third-party administrators who make decisions on their behalf. This further reduces consumer choice, efficiency and affordability. In addition, the broader economic conditions in which health care is delivered have an impact on its outcomes. For example, high unemployment rates have been linked to suicides of despair and to labor market policies that depress worker productivity and wages.

Previous post Health Programs and ICT
Next post What Is a Clinic?