University of Phoenix
Instructor: Dr. Vernita Davis
The United States spends more on health care per person than any other country in the world (Allen, 2014). Also, the United States spends more of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health care than other countries (Allen, 2014). Advancing technology, the state of the US economy, and the goal of providing quality health care are the major factors that contribute to such high health care spending in the United States. Needless to say, health care spending in the United States is a growing concern that needs to be addressed in order for the country to thrive.
Current National Health Care Spending
In 2013 and 2014, the driving factors of health care spending was the aging population, the Affordable Care Act and the slow growth of the economy (CMS, 2012). Health care spending growth for 2013 was just under 4% (CMS, 2012). The aging population is larger and are also living longer. This means more people on Medicare than ever before. In 2013 there was slow economic growth due to the fiscal cliff and the high unemployment rates. In 2014, the economy is beginning to grow at a faster pace. The continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act is already beginning to have a positive impact on the economy. In 2014, several insurance plans have become available to people who were unable to become insured, and more affordable health insurance plans are now offered. This is resulting in reducing the number of uninsured in the US. Although there are now more people accessing medical care because they are insured, health care providers are now receiving more reimbursements from sources which were not available before (CMS, 2014).
As aforementioned, health care spending represents 17% of GDP for the United States compared to eight to ten percent for other countries (Allen, 2014). CMS projects health care spending in the US to reach 19.9% by 2022 (CMS, 2014). In addition to spending the most on health care, the US also has the highest growth rate of health care spending amongst other countries. Lastly, another concern is that despite health care spending in the US, health outcomes for the US are lower than other countries. It is important that the US finds ways to reduce health care spending in order to continue to thrive as a country. If the US does not find ways to lower health care expenditures, America can be forced into another recession.
When thinking about ways to cut health care spending, it is important to consider that there are several stakeholders in health care. There are consumers, the government, health care providers, and health insurers who are affected by health care spending. There may be several different solutions to cut health care spending, but very few solutions that will satisfy all of the stakeholders. However, some solutions for lowering health care spending in the US are: coordination of care, incentives for better care, transparency, and monitoring the cost-effectiveness of new technologies.
Forecast of the Nation’s Health Care System
There are still many Americans with insurance that do not have a primary care physician. Having a primary care physician helps coordinate care for an individual. Coordination of care eliminates unnecessary duplication of procedures and expensive tests and avoidable costly emergency room visits (Community Catalyst, 2008). Coordination of care could consist of helping implement a disease management program for individuals with choric diseases. It may also include expanding electronic medical records which prevents duplication of care (Community Catalyst, 2008).
Offering incentives for quality care could also help cut health care spending. Currently, providers get paid based on the quantity of care provided, even if the care provided is not of good quality or cost-effective. Medicare has recently implemented a program that withholds payments for costs