Consider the costs associated with the American healthcare system, the contentions associated with managed care implementation, and the continued problems associated with macro and microallocation within this system. What ethics do you believe should guide continuing change in the American health care delivery system?
According to the US Census Bureau (2009), Americans will spend a projected 2.7 trillion dollars in healthcare in 2010, following 2.1 trillion dollars in healthcare expenditures in 2006. Within the managed care system, there is more focus on managing cost than managing care (Rodriguez, 2009). This creates a conflict of interest when allocating resources, as both physicians and insurance companies have financial incentives to address matters of finance rather than those of the patient’s best interests (AIU Online, 2009).
One of the most significant problems facing the healthcare system is that costs cannot be adequately controlled while issues of American culture that contribute to preventable diseases are not addressed. An estimated 30% of the increase in spending is directly a result of obesity; accounting for an approximate $147 billion dollars in treatment (Pollan, 2009; CDC, 2009). When considering the macro and micro allocation of resources, it is important that the focus is not exclusively limited to treatment options, but also the redirection of resources in order to reduce the occurrence of preventable chronic diseases.
The allocation of resources should be guided by the same ethics as those that regulate the medical profession: respect for persons, beneficence, non-malfeasance and justice (Rodriguez, 2009; Fremgen, 2009). These principles are important and necessary for not only the micro management of patient care, but also the macro allocation of care within the society. Within this, one crucial element is that of beneficence; if beneficence is applied to the entire society, the focus shifts from immediate treatment to reducing disease, thereby reducing costs and allowing for healthcare services for a greater portion of the population. By applying the same ethical guidelines to the entire macro healthcare delivery system as to the micro delivery system, healthcare providers and insurance companies may reach a common goal of reducing overall costs while offering substantive care, treatment and disease prevention.
AIU Online. (2009). HCM 410: Course Materials: The American Health Care delivery System. Retrieved from AIU Online Virtual Campus. The ethical and legal aspects of healthcare: HCM410- 0904B-02 website.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2009). Chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Retrieved 13 December 2009 from http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/overview.htm#2.
Fremgen, B. (2009). Medical law and ethics (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Health.
Pollan, M. (2009). Big food vs. big insurance. Retrieve 11 September 2009 from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/opinion/10pollan.html.
Rodriguez, R., Ph.D. (2009, November 19). Chat posting. Retrieved from AIU Online Virtual Campus. Chat 1 week 2. The ethical and legal aspects of healthcare: HCM410-0904B-02 website.
Rodriguez, R., Ph.D. (2009, December 7). Chat posting. Retrieved from AIU Online Virtual Campus. Chat 1 week 5. The ethical and legal aspects of healthcare: HCM410-0904B-02 website.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2009). Health & nutrition: health expenditures. Retrieved 13 December 2009 from http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/health_nutrition/health_expenditures.html.