The Health Care Crisis

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The cost of insurance has increased dramatically over the past decade, far surpassing the general rate of inflation in most years. Between 1989 and 1996, the average amount an employee had to contribute for family coverage jumped from $935 to $1778. In 1990, American companies spent $177 billion on health benefits for workers and their dependents; that number rose to $252 billion by 1996, or more than double the rate of inflation. Among the cost drivers: an aging population – the number of senior citizens who need health benefits is increasing dramatically every year; medical technology advances – which decreased the death rate; new drugs – expensive and effective, which make us live longer; and of course the increase of fear in medical litigations among doctors. Increase in usage will surely increase the cost of health care. On average, between the ages of 45 and 65, a person’s usage of health care triples. Eighty year-olds use nine times more health care services than 45 year-olds. By the year 2030, the number of people over 65 is expected to double. The cost for medical services have increased as well. Since 1980, medical cost have risen 281%. The number of organ transplants has doubled in the past 15 years, and all transplants cost over $100,000.

From my point of view, I think that increase in medical litigations is one of the most important factor of health care crisis. Americans spend far more per person on the costs of litigation than any other country in the world. The excess of the litigation system are an important contributor to “defensive medicine” – the costly use of medical treatments by a doctor for the purpose of avoiding litigation. As multimillion-dollar jury awards have become more commonplace in recent years, these problems have reached crisis proportions. Insurance premiums for malpractice are increasing at a rapid rate, particularly in states that have not taken steps to make their legal systems function more predictably and effectively. Doctors are facing much higher costs of insurance.

Because the litigation system does not accurately judge whether an error was committed in the course of medical care, physicians adjust their behavior to avoid being sued. A recent survey of physicians revealed that one-third shied away from going into a particular specialty because they feared it would subject them to greater liability exp...

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...undable health credit.

I am in favor of the plan Universal Health Care Vouchers (UHCV). It is paid for by a dedicated Value-Added tax of 8%-10%. All insurers would be required to offer a specified health care plan to everyone, with payments adjusted for the risk level of each patient, so that coverage for sicker patients will be reimbursed at a higher rate. Individuals could choose any health care plan they desire, paying for the basic plan with their UHCV, and for any extra services they desire from their own pocket. Over time, this will replace Medicare, as older Americans will simply keep their current voucher plan when they turn 65, and it would replace Medicaid immediately. It would also end the problem of poor people seeking primary care in emergency rooms, by allowing them to have coverage for regular primary care in a doctor's office. Employers would no longer have to provide insurance coverage, reducing the cost of employment.

I am willing to pay higher taxes to solve the health care crisis because I would rather pay a few percent of my salary and have a much better health care insurance for my family than paying $150-$300 every time I go visit the doctor.
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