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The US Health Care Reform Essay

The US Health Care Reform, 461 words essay example

Essay Topic: health care, us

The US health care reform to reduce spending is a complex and pertinent dilemma. Although there is no one singular solution to the issue, there are two pressing factors that contribute to the rising costs the increasing US life expectancy, and expensive prolonged treatment of chronic conditions resulting from poor lifestyles. Geriatrics over the age of 65 consume four times the amount of health services than their younger peers (Hoeseini, 2014). Between 2000 and 2030, the estimated population over the age of 65 will rise from 12.4% to 20% (Shi & Singh, 2015). The senior costs will only continue to accumulate as the estimate number of "centennials" aged over 100 will reach 834,000 by 2050 (Takamura, 1999).
One solution to this inevitable predicament is to shift the medical model from treatment to prevention. Simple lifestyle changes, such as diet and the cessation of smoking, could be drastic saviors to both individuals' health and the budget. Predictions from Finkelstein, Khavjou, Thompson, Trogdon, Pan, Sherry, & Dietz (2012) indicate that by 2030, 51% of the US population will be obese, costing $549.5 billion over the two-decade span. Prohibiting smoking in all subsidized housing would yield an annual savings of $341 million from second hand smoke medical expenses (Kanavis, Vandoros & Anderson, 2013). A study by Khan, Robertson, Smith, & Eddy, (2008) suggests that if 100% of the population adopted all current preventative guidelines for which they are eligible, such as smoking cessation, the prevalence of MI and stroke would drop from 63% to 31%, respectively. These simple adjustments would result in saving billions in health care expenses in the years to come.
Controlling the costs of prescription drug use by elderly citizens is another key adjustment that could spare billions from government spending. Shrank, Choudry, Liberman, & Brennan (2011) concluded that some chronic diseases, like diabetes, could be treated with generic-brand prescriptions, opposed to more expensive name-brands. Data from their 2008 study illustrates that the goals of the American Diabetes Association for glucose control could have been reached with the use of generic-brand prescriptions totaling $1,022 per year, opposed to $48,759 with name-brand. Bao, Shao, Bishop, Shackman, & Bruce, (2011) found that 38% of their sample of elderly over 65 were taking at least one potentially inappropriate medication. Considering Kanavos, Ferrario, Vandoros, & Anderson (2013) calculated that name-brand prescriptions in the US were 5-198% more expensive than 5 other comparable countries, these staggering differences would make drastic differences in health expenses.
The fact that elderly contribute more in comparison to health expenses is inevitable, but there are small changes to lifestyles and the pharmaceutical industry that would drastically minimize government spending with no negative repercussions to the access, quality, or outcome of care. In fact, the substantial savings that both solutions would produce could be used to improve other sectors of the healthcare spectrum producing an overall improved system. It is up to each and every citizen to make their own changes to contribute to the greater wellbeing of health system.

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