As a growing number of Americans find themselves without health insurance, it is demanded that the United States explore innovative policies aimed at extending coverage. The high cost of expanding coverage raises many questions about how best to improve access while preserving individual choice and maintaining quality of care. Differing viewpoints among policymakers, insurers, doctors, hospital administrators, employers, public health advocates, and health policy researchers provide a complete picture of the current and desired state of American healthcare.
This report is gives a look at numerous factors affecting healthcare and how a lack of insurance has implications to not just the individual, but society as …show more content…
Despite all of this, the U.S. consistently scores at or near the bottom on infant mortality, life expectancy, and the proportion of the population with health insurance coverage. The hidden consequences of failure to ensure universal coverage in the US are well documented. The Institute of Medicine estimates that 18,000 lives are lost annually as a consequence of gaps in coverage.
The negative effects of the lack of insurance often impacts communities as a whole. The Institute of Medicine, “it is both mistaken and dangerous to assume that the prevalence of uninsurance in the United States harms only those who are uninsured.” The cost of uncompensated care provided to the uninsured was an estimated $34 billion in 2005. The public sector financed up to eighty-five percent of these costs. In addition, doctors provided an additional $5.1 billion in charity care.
The absence of appropriate medical care can affect local health care systems and how they are financed, and the providers that work in them. Physicians have a financial disincentive to locate in areas with high uninsured rates. This can lead to physician shortages and limited access to primary care. This affects both uninsured and insured community members.
The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act is the only federal law that provides a limited right to universal