In this day and age, many factors are affecting the way people live and think. These factors are also known as social issues and they are matters affecting members of a given community, either directly or indirectly (Ginzberg, 1992). Society considers these issues to be problems normally associated with moral values. Included in these social issues is religion, health matters, violence, discrimination as well as poverty (Chapman, 1993).
One such issue that has greatly affected communities around the world is the health care reform issue. The lack of clear guidelines on government policies implemented to cater to the health care of individuals has contributed to an increase in the high cost of medical care. This has been felt by the poorer citizens who also make up the majority of most populations in countries around the world, especially the undeveloped and developing countries (Konrad, 2009).
People are no longer able to afford health care insurance due to the high cost of living (Konrad, 2009). Communities have become poorer and more susceptible to various ailments such as heart diseases, malnourishment as well as mental health cases.
The average family income of an American community is approximately 10% below the required national average, while up to 13% is spent on gross state product above the required national average (Ginzberg, 1992). The local leadership has failed to focus on health care issues leading to extremely high costs of health care as related to an average family income. An estimated 46 million individuals residing in America lack both access to proper health care and are without health insurance cover (Sandy, 2009).
It has been observed that those who are either non-insured, underinsured, or both are not only the poverty-stricken and homeless individuals in the community but are also those who are part-time or full-time employed and literate (Konrad, 2009). Organizations, especially the large ones are with each passing day neglecting the importance of employee and employer coverage. To near 25% of the American population, the high cost of medical care would in the end lead to bankruptcy as well as poverty, hence the majority of them seek medical care only when it is critical or near-death (Ibid, 2009).
As a community that is both advanced and highly literate, it is the number one social responsibility to make sure that every person is offered affordable and accessible health care as well as basic health insurance cover (Sandy, 2009). But there is a lack of clear and applicable perception as to which role the government should play in health care. This has in turn become a hindrance to implementing a system of health care that would work for every individual in the society (Konrad, 2009).
Across the United States, the total number of citizens insured rose by 1% in the individual market between 1995 and 2007 (Sandy, 2009).
The issue of health care reform has been debated in the recent past by government leaders but has borne no tangible fruits.
The community has become vulnerable as concerns health care and is worried about what the future holds and just how much they will be required to pay for medical care (Ginzberg, 1992).
Recently, well-trained and professional health care doctors have emerged due to economic and market motivations.
Drugs that are capable of curing most ailments, treatment procedures, as well as ever-evolving technologies, have also been produced to deal with the health care reform issue (Sandy, 2009).
Despite the current income levels dictating the ability to acquire some level of insurance, some of the uninsured individuals still choose not to consider health care insurance coverage. This has led the benefits legislation to enshrine health care insurance as an employment benefit (Konrad, 2009). Government policies that team up higher and lower risk groups for instance community rating laws affect overall health care insurance coverage (Sandy, 2009). Health care reform legislation may also dictate the availability of insurance as concerns individual markets and small groups.
Impacts brought about by the distribution of those insured should be considered by the government when formulating health care policies (Ginzberg, 1992).
Health care reform amongst American citizens and the community as a whole has often been viewed as a second-level community issue as well as someone else’s responsibility (Konrad, 2009). With the health care system escalating out of control, the global competitiveness of organizations, as well as the economic security of individuals, is greatly affected (Chapman, 1993). There is rapid decline as concerns community health and also the oppression of small business enterprises. Health care has thus been denied to the majority of the American population. An average American citizen has been observed to pay exaggerated prices for health care and similar drugs that individuals of other countries get for a small part of the price (Sandy, 2009).
The majority of American citizens cannot afford their employer’s plans as concerns their health care. Those with pre-existing medical conditions are the worst hit for instance an employer at a small organization might decide not to offer a specified job to a job seeker after finding out the latter has a family member suffering from leukemia or any other serious ailment (Konrad, 2009). This has led many employees to stick to jobs which they hate most resulting in less input by them in an organization.
Between 1990 and 1993, around 45 states of the U.S. endorsed new policies to govern the sale of health care insurance to small employer groups (Sandy, 2009). Included in the health care reforms was the prohibition of insurers from denying health care insurance coverage to any person or small group as well as all subscribers being charged a standard price regardless of age, any other forecast of medical expenditure, or sex (Ginzberg, 1992). However, the results of the reforms led to the age distribution for those having health care insurance cover being older. Failure of the reforms was attributed to the majority of the states allowing variation of rates by sex and age as well as individual income status (Chapman, 1993).
Recent studies have revealed that physicians believe that it is their responsibility to care for individuals with limited resources as well as the less fortunate in society. Despite tending to agree with the fact that health care resources should be distributed equally and fairly, some physicians may also be unwilling to support concrete policies meant for the expansion of coverage for basic health care (Sandy, 2009).
They may do so through the limitation of compensation for expensive interventions.
2,000 practicing United States physicians were part of a survey included in May 2009 as concerns health care reform issues (Ginzberg, 1992). From the results, it was observed that approximately 78% of the total respondents, that is 991 respondents out of the 2,000 agreed to the fact that physicians do have an obligation towards addressing societal health policy issues (Konrad, 2009). 73% also agreed that every single physician should care for the under-insured and non-insured of the community (Sandy, 2009). On the other hand, 54% of the respondents objected to the use of cost-effectiveness data in determining the kind of treatment to be offered to patients (Ashley & Kevin, 2002).
On June 15, 2009, President Barack Obama addressed the American Medical Association and cited the need for physicians’ endorsement on health care reforms (Ginzberg, 1992). Unfortunately, physicians may not be willing to take up the responsibility that both health policy advocates and the President want them to. This is because some physicians may remain unconvinced about the effectiveness of the health care reforms (Konrad, 2009).
Religious as well as moral standards state that no individual should be excluded from a system just because they are not able to afford good health (Sandy, 2009). The system of health care is meant to protect the dignity and purity of life as pertains to current and existing rules. Religious traditions also suggest that financial responsibility and social justice must not be collided against each other but instead should be balanced together in public policy affordable for individuals and the society as a whole (Ashley & Kevin, 2002).
Small organizations and the community ignore the health care reform movement at their own risk. Medical care delivery is stressed and improvements need to be made as soon as possible.
In implementing health care reforms, the local government ought to consider starting with small rural and urban communities since they are more than willing to co-operate. In this way, this social issue of health care reform will be effectively dealt with at the community, organization, or small group level.
Ashley, B. M., and Kevin D. O. (2002). Ethics of Health Care: An Introductory Textbook. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Chapman, A. (1993). Exploring a Human Rights Approach to Health Care Reform. AAAS, Washington, DC.
Ginzberg, E. (1992). Health Care and the Market Economy: A Conflict of Interest? New England Journal of Medicine, 323(1):72-74.
Sandy, P. (2009). Addressing Insurance Market Reform in Health Care Reform. For the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee e Roundtable Hearing.
Walecia. K. (2009). Getting a Health Policy When You’re Already Sick. The New York Times.