Such notion as system has a great number of definitions; on the whole, it can be interpreted as a set of dependent or independent elements which form a single entity, for example, the state or governmental institutions (Parson, 1991). Most importantly, each constituent part of the whole may fulfill different functions but all of them serve the same purpose. This is the key attribute of any network, company, team, structure and so forth.
To some extent, this group of elements can be compared to a living organism, where each organ ensures harmonious of the body. As far as health care service is concerned, we can say that its key task is to promote physical and mental well-being of the countrys citizens. It is rather difficult whether provision of medical provision in the United States can be regarded as a system or not. We can single out its constituents like, medical workers, research centers, colleges and universities etc. The question arises whether all of them help to achieve success and alleviate health problems of Americans.
This is why it is essential to discuss scholarly views on this issue. In fact, in the vast majority of cases, people tend to say “health care system” without full understanding of this concept; this expression is usually used as a cliché. Many scholars argue that at the present stage of its development, the US health care may not be called a system at least in full sense of this word (Cannon, 2006).
For instance, Frederic Cannon states that at the moment medical institutions of the country are not allowed to merge with one another (Canon, 2006 388). The thing is that such merger would contradict antitrust laws. Yet, in any system the elements are closely interwoven and assist each other. Furthermore, the author says that frequently low-income patients have to struggle against red tape and other forms of bureaucracy. This means that some institutions which are intended to benefit people, just slow down the whole process. This statement is applicable to community hospitals, which are “overregulated by the state” (Cannon, 2006, p 384). It turns out that some components of this mechanism are redundant. Thus, at this point we can pre that out system is malfunctioning to say the least.
Overall, Frederic Cannon advocates the belief the state cannot effectively regulate health care provision, and privatization would bring improvements. From his standpoint, medical service in the United States can become an effective system if the supervision of the state diminishes. His major argument is that private organizations are always customer-driven, while federal agencies are more bureaucratic and cumbersome.
This view is frequently supported by others. For example, according to the findings of Montreal Economic Institute, currently the US medical institutions are not equally-matched, as there is a glaring discrepancy between private and public medical agencies (MEI, p 4). It can be observed in funding, equipment, competence of employees and so forth. It should be borne in mind that in every good system, components are of the same quality, they are equally useful. This evidence partially indicates that the US heal care cannot be classified as a system. The researchers also take a protective stand towards the privatization of hospitals and related institutions.
In their study Stephen Grubaugh and Rexford Santerre consider the health care of the United States as a system. They acknowledge that its effectiveness leaves much to be desired. There are various reasons for it this situation: lack of funding, inappropriate allocation of costs, red tape etc (1994, 1033).
Their investigation shows that in some European countries like Sweden or Norway, the distribution of health care services is more balanced while the expenses are not immense as it is in the US. Probably, the underlying cause of this problem is the long chain of distribution. These assets are not directly accessible to the medical organizations. Moreover, the decision about the distribution of these assets is taken not by health care professionals who may better evaluate current needs. As a rule, it is done by governmental officials.
Again, this discussion leads us the question whether the medical service in the United States may be viewed as a single entity. Judging from these articles, we cannot say that the US provision of health care is a system mostly because its components are not closely connected with one another. Secondly, they are not equally developed, especially given the differences which exist between private and public organizations. In addition to that, every element of the system usually contributes its effective functioning while in the US many agencies are not well adjusted to the needs of the patients.
Many formal procedures only slow down the process of receiving assistance. It seems that the term “health care system” is so widely used only due to the overt similarities of medical institutions. This is why they are taken as a whole. Even if we call the US heath service a system, this mechanism is malfunctioning.
Cannon F (2006). Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Five Steps to a Better Health Care SystemThe Cato Journal. Volume: 26. Issue: 2, p 384.
Grubaugh S G. Santerre R. E (1994). Comparing the Performance of Health Care Systems: An Alternative Approach. Southern Economic Journal. Vol 60, issue 4, p 1030.
Montreal Economic Institute (2005). Two myths about the U.S. health care system. Web.
Parsons. T (1991). Social System. London Routledge.