Health Economics and Private Health Insurance Provision of health care services is one of the major responsibilities ofany government to its citizens. Over the years, the health sector in the United States (US) has received great attention with noticeable efforts to improve quality of health care services. Improvements have not only targeted personnel skills but also making sure that health services are readily available to all citizens. This has prompted increased focus on insurance marking major advancements such as increased concentration on private insurance. However, in the course of these advancements in the quality of health care services, there have been a number of seemingly new problems mainly in relation to health economics. 1.
The US economic share devoted to health has been on a constant rise over the years as quality of health services improves. i. Only about 4% of US gross domestic product (GDP) was spent on health care in the 1950s making health care expenditure relatively smaller than other daily spending such as fuel. ii. Expenditure on health care has however increased over time with statistics revealing that expenditure levels in 2010 were at 17.9% of US GDP making an average spending of $7538 for each woman, man, and child. iii.
Research shows that a steady continuation with this trend will put health care expenditure at about 38% of US GDP in 2075 making it the highest expenditure than a combination of all everyday spending such as food and housing among others. 2. Increasing expenditure on health services has heavily contributed to the general imbalance of medical outcomes. i. As a result of the disparities in medical outcomes, quality of health care services has deteriorated significantly in some segments of the population. ii.
In 2008 white infant mortality rate was at 0.6% which is a major improvements from the previous years and parallel to other developed countries such as Australia. iii. Conversely, black infant mortality rate was at 1.3 % which is evidently higher compared to white infant mortality rate and below the general status in other developed nations. 3. The US government can also be arguably considered to have partially failed in ensuring that all citizens have access to basic health services through health insurance covers. i.
Access to health services is mainly improved by providing health insurance to citizens thereby eliminating financial barriers. ii. There has been a steady growth in the number of people lacking health insurance over the years with recent studies showing that approximately a sixth of the entire US population does not have health insurance. 4. Recent years have seen increased government expenditure towards the health sector amid rising health costs in the US. i. Contrary to expectations of many people, the US government accounts for almost half of the total health spending. ii.
Approximately a quarter of federal government’s budget and a fifth of state and local government’s budget goes to cater for health expenses. iii. This increased spending can be attributed to rising costs of health care services and rising dependency rates that are implications of the rapidly growth of an aging population. 5. To mitigate the rising costs of health care services, a relatively high percentage of the population has shifted to taking health insurance covers with greater focus on private insurance. i. In 2010 approximately 64% of the US population had private insurance, which constitutes to about 74% of people with insurance. ii.
The main source of private insurance is however employer provided health insurance with only 13% of people with private insurance having purchased it individually. iii. However, employer provided health insurance is seemingly expensive due to incorporation of employer’s premiums payments for the insurance. iv. In 2011 employees paid about 16% of costs of singles coverage and 27% of costs of family coverage, which is somewhat expensive consequently discouraging some employees’ involvement in employer health insurance. Conclusively, the health sector plays a highly important role in people’s and the general development of a country.
Over, the years there have been numerous improvements in the health sectors marking improved service delivery. However, with improved quality of health services provided comes some challenges that are mainly economic in nature. US’s expenditure in the health sector has been on a constant rise over the years posing challenges for the government’s expenditure plans. Concentration on insurance, especially private insurance, has also been a major step in the health sector with employers being the main source of private insurance. Works Cited Chapter 15.
Health Insurance I: Health Economics and Private Health Insurance. 2011.