Cost and Healthcare
In a recent election, on a national debate stage, a political candidate declared that “no American has ever died for lack of health care”. It is true that hospitals are required by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), a federal law to stabilize and treat all patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. It is an unfunded mandate with hospital emergency rooms bearing the entire burden of the cost. Outside the boundaries of this act, un/underinsured patients surely do die for a lack of health care.
Have you or anyone you know been in this situation? How would someone feel if they were in a position where they could not afford treatment? In the movie, “John Q”, John Quincy Archibald’s son Michael collapses while playing baseball as a result of heart failure. John rushes Michael to a hospital emergency room where he is informed that Michael’s only hope is a transplant. Unfortunately, John’s insurance won’t cover his son’s transplant. Out of options, John Q. takes extreme measures to save his son. While a compelling film, it is certainly from one point of view and sensationalized. Health care professionals must always be tasked with seeing all points of view with objectivity.
Question the impact of being uninsured.
Include the following aspects in the discussion:
- Think of a time when you or someone you know did not seek medical care due to cost
- What was the result?
- Discuss if you would support paying more in taxes to have a national insurance program that covered every citizen
Is the U.S. Population Unhealthy?
Health-related behavior represents a prime target for improving the nation’s health. Today’s leading cases of disease and death are preventable chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and asthma), and behavioral risk factors play a critical role in their development and management. Obesity is common, serious and costly problem in the U.S. Obesity affected about 93.3 million of US adults in 2015~2016. Fast food consumption has been linked to higher caloric intake and greater risk for obesity. As an increasing number of consumers are dining at fast food restaurants, policy makers are turning their attention to environmental and policy approaches that influence consumer choice, including mandated calorie menu labels in fast food restaurants. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act included a provision requiring restaurants with more than 20 locations nationwide to post calorie information at the point of purchase.
Watch the following video: Supersize me
Explore the effectiveness of healthy living education.
Include each of the following aspects in the discussion:
- Do you think the posting of calorie counts will change behavior when ordering food?
- Has it changed your behavior?
- Suggest education that might influence diet and food choices
- Discuss if insurance premiums and health care charges should reflect a person’s unhealthy life style
Expert Solution Preview
These two discussions focus on important aspects of healthcare in the United States. The first discussion examines the impact of being uninsured, while the second discussion explores the effectiveness of healthy living education. Both topics highlight the challenges and considerations that arise when it comes to providing access to healthcare and promoting healthy behaviors.
Answer to Discussion 1:
Being uninsured can have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to seek medical care. There may be instances when individuals or their acquaintances are unable to afford treatment due to financial constraints. In such cases, the result can be detrimental to their health and well-being.
For example, I had a close friend who postponed seeking medical attention for persistent abdominal pain because he was concerned about the cost. As a result, his condition worsened and he eventually had to undergo emergency surgery, leading to a longer recovery time and increased medical expenses. This situation demonstrates the real-life consequences of being uninsured and avoiding medical care due to cost concerns.
Considering the scenario provided, it becomes crucial to discuss the potential benefits of a national insurance program that covers every citizen, even if it means paying higher taxes. Such a program would ensure that individuals have access to healthcare regardless of their financial situation. By pooling resources through taxes, the burden of healthcare costs could be shared more equitably among the population.
Answer to Discussion 2:
The posting of calorie counts in fast food restaurants is an initiative aimed at promoting healthier food choices. While it may not single-handedly change behavior when ordering food, it does have the potential to create awareness and influence decision-making.
In my case, seeing calorie counts on menus has indeed influenced my behavior. I have become more conscious of the nutritional content of the food I consume and make an effort to choose healthier options. This suggests that education, in the form of visible calorie information, can be effective in promoting healthier dietary choices.
In addition to calorie counts, it is essential to implement comprehensive education programs that address the broader aspects of diet and food choices. These programs should focus on providing information about balanced nutrition, portion sizes, and the importance of incorporating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into daily meals. By educating individuals about the benefits of healthy eating, we can empower them to make informed choices and improve their overall health.
Furthermore, the question of whether insurance premiums and healthcare charges should reflect a person’s unhealthy lifestyle is complex. While it seems logical for individuals who engage in unhealthy behaviors to bear some responsibility, it is important to approach this issue with sensitivity and fairness. It may be more effective to incentivize healthy behaviors through reduced premiums or discounts on healthcare services, rather than imposing punitive charges. This approach encourages positive change and supports individuals in making healthier choices.
These discussions highlight the importance of addressing healthcare access and promoting healthy behaviors. The experiences shared and the considerations raised provide valuable insights for healthcare professionals, policymakers, and society as a whole. By understanding these issues, we can work towards creating a healthcare system that is equitable, accessible, and supportive of individuals’ well-being.