According to Mary-Jane (2005), the United States has the most extensive health care system in the world; however, it has failed in the delivery of expected health care to its citizens. Several shortcomings in the health care system of the United States have been identified by many. The issue of health care reforms has been a major concern in the United States. A good number of citizens in the United States do not have basic access to medical health care due to ethical issues with the allocation of resources and cost of health care (Brock, 2005). Also, the United States is ranked highest in cost of health care (World Health Organization, 2011) and most of its low income individuals are not insured. The public health has many responsibilities in the delivery of quality health care. The United States health care system needs to be reformed as it has failed in the delivery of quality health care to its citizens despite its adequate resources and high expenditure in the area of health care.
The United States has experienced difficulties in making decisions pertaining appropriate allocation and utilization of health care resources. Ethical discrepancy in which differences between individuals determine the differences in allocation of resources has given rise to conflicts in many countries of the world today, particularly, the United States (Klugman, 2006). Adequate health care resources are available in the US; however, not every citizen in the United States has access to these resources. Efforts made to provide insurance for poor citizens has recorded increasing failure. In 1970, about 60 percent of individuals with low income had access to medical health care; however, only about 40 percent of individuals with low income have access to quality medical health care today, in the United States (Brock, 2005). The poor access to health care is related to its cost in many countries including the United States. However, the poor individuals are not insured and have little or no access to medical health care resources.
High cost of medical health care in the United States is a major concern which requires attention. According to World Health Organization (2000), the United States health care system ranked highest in cost of health care. Another study carried out by Kahn et al. (2005) also ranked United States health care system highest in cost of health care and last in delivery of quality health care when compared to similarly developed countries. The United States spends the most in health care sectors, yet about 16% of its population is uninsured which makes it difficult for them to enjoy health care services (Mary-Jane, 2005). According to Brock (2005), the United States is amongst the few developed countries in the world that has failed in the insurance of quality health care access for its citizens. Lack of health care insurance in the USA gives rise to about 1,500 avoidable deaths annually (Brock, 2005).
The public health in the United States and countries all over the world is charged with many responsibilities aimed at quality health care delivery. Bailus (2000) highlighted some of such responsibilities, which include:
- Recognize health challenges of the public by supervising their health status
- Enlighten and inform the public about issues pertaining health
- Come up with new programs and policies, and manage existing programs that enhance efforts of community health
- Ensure that the community comply to health regulations and law
- Ensure competent personal and public health care
- Carry out research to discover new solutions to health challenges
- Assess the effectiveness, quality, and accessibility of health care service
In conclusion, the United States health care system needs to be reformed as it has failed in the delivery of quality health care to its citizens despite its adequate resources and high expenditure in the area of health care. The United States spends the most on health care; however, most of its population has experienced low accessibility to health care due to ethical issues with allocation of resources and cost of health care amongst other reasons.
Bailus, W. (2000). Public Health Responsibilities, Roles, and Realities. Am J Public Health, 75, 1049-1050.
Brock, D. (2005). Ethical Issues in Recipient Selection for Organ Transplantation: In Organ Substitution Technology: Ethical, Legal, and Public Policy Issues, London: Westview.
Mary-Jane, S. (2005). Introduction to Public Health. London: Jones & Bartlett Learning
Kahn, J.G., Kronick, R., Kreger, M, & Gans, D. N. (2005). The cost of health insurance administration in California: estimates for insurers, physicians, and hospitals. Health Aff, 24 (6), 1629–39
Klugman, C. (2006). Reframing Terri Schiavo: One family’s story of morality, ethics, and politics. Internet Journal of Law, Healthcare & Ethics, 4(1), 3-3.
World Health Organization. (2011). World health statistics 2011. Geneva: World Health Organization