Health policies allude to the decisions, strategies, and activities to accomplish specific health care objectives. They may address healthcare finance and delivery issues, accessibility to care, healthcare quality, and health inequalities. In healthcare, a policy is critical because it establishes a comprehensive strategy course to lead to desired objectives and serves as a fundamental framework for decision-making. Healthcare policy affects the cost of medical care that residents must incur and the accessibility and effectiveness of health care they obtain. Additionally, access and efficacy of care can both affect the well-being of individuals. The escalating expense of treatment has put an additional strain on individuals’ discretionary income and government spending. In the healthcare environment, legislation should lay the groundwork for safe, cost-effective, high-quality care. The paper aims at reviewing the health care policy in the USA, their scope, and the policy alternatives and political debate surrounding the policies.
Current Health Care Policy in the United States of America
In September 1993, President Clinton presented a health improvement plan to a joint congressional hearing, stressing universal care by 1999. In July, Democrats in congress revealed a new healthcare program that, like the Clinton proposal, incorporated employer mandates and guaranteed national healthcare by 1999 (Cahn & Johnston, 2018). In August, Senator Mitchell introduced a new replacement proposal, the Health Security Act, promising to attain 95% cover by 2000 without compelling managers to insure their personnel (Cahn & Johnston, 2018, p.5). President Obama stated that the Mitchell measure met his veto-proof standards with his new administration, and the Senate began discussing healthcare policy measures (Cahn & Johnston, 2018). The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 was signed into legislation by President Obama on March 30th, 2010 (Cahn & Johnston, 2018). The policy has succeeded in ensuring that preconceived diseases are protected under the ACA, expanding Medicaid giving millions of low-income Americans affordable healthcare, and making health insurance more accessible and inexpensive.
Scope of the Problem
Health care access is contingent upon the affordability of medical insurance. Financial constraints to treatment have been more assertive in the USA than in other economies with high-income, especially for low-income persons and the uninsured. The United States scores worst on indicators of financial healthcare coverage, as per a 2013 Commonwealth Fund poll of individuals in 11 high-income nations. According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, those without insurance had less accessibility than those with insurance; 20% of uninsured individuals in 2015 remained without proper medical treatment due to cost (Papanicolas et al., 2018, p. 1027). Inadequate medical coverage has been acknowledged as a significant contributor to health inequities. Residential discrimination based on race is a critical method by which racism creates and perpetuates socioeconomic inequality. African American and Latino individuals are more likely to dwell in depressing environments and attend schools with insufficient resources, resulting in lower academic achievement and quality. These variables may contribute to some racial minorities having greater chronic conditions, contagious diseases, and death rates than white Americans.
Minority communities show higher hardship than the white majority in accessing a constant health care system. African Americans and Hispanic people record significant difficulty than white individuals in receiving continuous medical treatment. Individuals cannot obtain care if unavailable in their geographic location or doctors refuse to treat them due to insurance or other complications. Remote communities, notably, have been highlighted as missing an adequate number of specialized clinicians, particularly in the area of psychiatric care. Even if services are accessible, access to care may be hampered by additional barriers. One is insufficient transportation, either because the commute time is enormous because there is no public transit access and the individual does not own an automobile or other transportation modes, or because the cost of commuting is prohibitively expensive. Physicians may decline to attend to patients if there are no available appointment schedules or not approve the clients’ coverage. Clinicians may be unable to engage with patients due to language barriers, or their premises may not be wheelchair accessible. Prolonged wait times for consultations or to visit physicians at their workplaces may also serve to discourage utilization.
Policy Alternatives and the political debate
Some of the proposals introduced in the 117th congress regarding the health care policy and the political debate surrounding them include the following as discussed below. Among the recommendations regarding health care policy include acknowledging that most Americans are unaware of how health care legislation affects every aspect of their lives and expressing sympathy for the citizens. Additionally, the month of August is to be designated as National Health Care Outreach Program Month. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney introduced this bill in the House of Representatives to make American citizens aware of how the health care policy functions. Among the reasons contributing to the unawareness are many Americans, particularly those from minority groups, who face language difficulties and lack competency in expressing, interpreting, and understanding English (Ortega, 2018). These limitations can create significant difficulties for both patients and clinicians in a hospital context.
A systematic review of the literature on language obstacles in medical services for minority populations found that language difficulties negatively impact healthcare access, clinical outcomes, and health status (Ortega, 2018). If a client cannot transmit a message to their health care professional, several negative consequences for the patient’s health treatment may arise (Ortega, 2018). For instance, a client’s inability to comprehend a physician’s assessment or care plan can result in low client experience, insufficient compliance, and underutilization of resources. Therefore, there is a need for the Health Care Outreach Program.
Another bill regarding healthcare policies introduced to the 117th House of Representatives declared that the United States is compelled to resolve the unhousing crisis by 2025 permanently. The bill proposed that the USA is mandated to preserve, safeguard, and implement the civil and human rights of poor and homeless citizens and the civil rights to shelter and universal coverage. Additionally, better salaries, education, job creation, accessibility to public amenities, and freedom of movement in open spaces, conﬁdentiality, data protection, and internet connectivity were all included in the bill. Poverty is pervasive in the United States, impacting up to 45 million individuals, and numerous academics have found various variables that lead to poverty (Lazar & Davenport, 2018). While deprivation can affect anyone, determinants for poverty include being a member of a non-white racial group and having a poor academic achievement, all of which frequently result in limited access to health care.
While numerous federal and non-profit initiatives assist low-income individuals with necessities such as clothing and accommodation, and whereas agencies exist to address health inequities, the structure as a whole is severely erroneous. After evaluating the published data 15 years ago, it is clear that the significant hurdles to healthcare provision for underprivileged families are poor education (Lazar & Davenport, 2018). Additionally, insurance problems and personal resentment of health care practitioners also affect the accessibility to health care among non-whites.
The other bill represented to the 117th House of Representatives regarding health care policy acknowledging women’s cardiovascular health as a significant healthcare concern affecting all States and contributing significantly to higher healthcare expenses. The bill advocates for the importance of increased outreach, information, and understanding about the symptoms of the heart condition in women. Additionally, the bill proposes that gender-specific heart disease scientific studies and regulatory efforts to address the risks of cardiovascular disease in women be implemented.
According to 2014 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics on contributory deaths rates in women, 1 in 3.3 deaths was linked to cardiovascular disease cancer (Mehta et al., 2018, p.e31). Furthermore, 1 in 8.3 deaths linked to coronary heart illness and breast cancer accounted for 1 in 31.5 deaths (Mehta et al., 2018, p.e31). Mehta et al. (2018, p.e31) enumerate that around 47.8 million are cardiovascular disease patients, whereas roughly 3.32 million women have breast cancer. While cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the top risk factor for mortality in women, many individuals assume that breast cancer is the greatest menace to women’s reproductive health.
CVD and breast cancer share many contributory factors, including overweight and smoking. Despite extensive public education initiatives, the primary cause of mortality among women in the United States is CVD (Mehta et al., 2018. Additionally, Mehta et al. (2018) insinuate that minority ethnic groups have a deficient level of awareness. While cardiovascular disease and breast cancer have gained widespread media attention on their own, little public knowledge exists of the cohabitation of similar potential risk components linked with these two illnesses (Mehta et al., 2018). While cardiology and chemotherapy are generally considered distinct medical areas, they regularly overlap.
Multidisciplinary treatment is crucial for cancer individuals’ treatment. CVD wellness can determine cancer results in two ways: pre-cancer cardiovascular condition can impact therapy choices, and treatment can culminate in cardiovascular abnormalities that can compromise current cancer therapy (Mehta et al., 2018). In the United States, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer are substantial sources of death rates among women. Therefore, the bill addresses a fatal issue that needs to be addressed in the fastest way possible to prevent the higher death rates among women from CVD. The significant political debate surrounding the health care bills presented to the House of Representatives is the continuous disagreements between the democrats and the republicans regarding the bills. It is often difficult to pass a health care bill represented by a Republican in the House of Representatives due to their low number compared to the democrats, assuming the Democrats are against it.
In conclusion, policy recommendations are a vital part of any constitution regarding the various legislations that guide a nation. Health care policies are not an exemption since they are presented with new and recurring challenges each day, such as diseases. Awareness and education are essential aspects in making citizens up to date with health issues. The proposed bills discussed in the essay are crucial in helping reduce the adverse effects of the various diseases on the affected individuals. Therefore, it is essential that the House of Representatives put their differences aside and pass these proposed bills for a healthy nation.
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Lazar, M., & Davenport, L. (2018). Barriers to health care access for low income families: A review of literature. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 35(1), 28–37. Web.
Mehta, L. S., Watson, K. E., Barac, A., Beckie, T. M., Bittner, V., Cruz-Flores, S., Dent, S., Kondapalli, L., Ky, B., Okwuosa, T., Pina, I.L., & Volgman, A. S. (2018). Cardiovascular disease and breast cancer: where these entities intersect: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 137(8), e30-e66. Web.
Ortega, P. (2018). Spanish language concordance in US medical care: A multifaceted challenge and call to action. Academic Medicine, 93(9), 1276-1280. Web.
Papanicolas, I., Woskie, L. R., & Jha, A. K. (2018). Health care spending in the United States and other high-income countries. Jama, 319(10), 1024-1039. Web.