Access to Health Care

6 June 2016

Latest statistics show that approximately five hundred forty five thousand establishments make up the health care industry (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). In fact, the health care industry has nine major segments including the following establishment types: 1) hospitals (public and private); 2) nursing and residential care facilities; 3) offices of physicians; 4) offices of dentists; 5) home healthcare services; 6) offices of other health practitioners; 7) outpatient care centers; 8) other ambulatory healthcare services; and 9) medical and diagnostic laboratories (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Hospitals, as we all know, offer absolute medical care, including diagnostic services, surgery, as well as, incessant & uninterrupted nursing care (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).  They also attend to patients who are suffering from mental illness, as well as, cancer patients (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Access to Health Care Essay Example

Nursing and residential care facilities, on the other hand, offer the following to individuals who are in need of non-stop nursing care but not services of a hospital: 1) inpatient nursing; 2) therapy/rehabilitation; 3) health-related private & special care (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). Nurses and nursing aides, for instance, have the extreme ability to give patients direct care that they need (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Offices of physicians, however, are establishments wherein physicians, as well as, surgeons opted to practice their professions in private or in groups of either similar of different specializations (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Offices of dentists, on the other hand, offer general or specialized dental care, like dental surgery (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Home health care services, however, are those type of care which involves skilled nursing and medical care supervised by a physician which are implemented in the patient’s home (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). Home health care services are typically provided to the elderly (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Offices of other health practitioners, on the other hand, consist of the offices of the following: 1) audiologists; 2) chiropractors; 3) dietitians; 4) occupational therapists; 5) optometrists; 6) podiatrists; 7) physical therapists; 8) psychologists; 9) speech-language pathologists; and 10) etc. including acupuncturists, homeopaths, hypnotherapists, & naturopaths (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Outpatient care centers, however, include the following: 1) emergency centers; 2) freestanding ambulatory surgical centers; 3) health maintenance medical centers; 4) kidney dialysis centers; 5) outpatient mental health centers; and 6) substance abuse centers (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Other ambulatory health care services, on the other hand, covers the following services: 1) ambulance transport services; 2) blood and organ banks; 3) helicopter transport services; 4); pacemaker monitoring services; and 5) smoking cessation programs (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Finally, medical and diagnostic laboratories, however, offer, services that are analytic or diagnostic either to the medical professional or to the patients directly (only upon the issuance of request or prescription from the physician) (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).

Access to Health Care

As I have reintroduced, it is quite apparent that the healthcare industry is rather large. It may seem easy to access, it may seem free, but unfortunately it is not. On the contrary, it is extremely expensive (Accessing.., n.d). In fact, a major accident or ailment may cost the patient ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and may easily and rapidly accumulate to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) (Accessing.., n.d.). And so, if a patient is not medically insured, he or she will be obliged to pay for the aforementioned medical expenses (Accessing.., n.d.). This is the main reason why people in the United States acquire a medical insurance (Accessing.., n.d.).

Wondering what kind of a healthcare system does our country have? Well, the United States of America, actually has, a number of privately and publicly funded health insurance plans that provide healthcare services (Uretsky, 2004). In fact, statistics say that approximately sixty percent (60%) of the total population is covered by employment-based health insurance, while approximately twenty seven (27%) percent is covered by government-based insurance, the remaining number of population, however, are not insured (Uretsky, 2004).

And how is the healthcare system funded, you may ask?

Before, health insurance is given in one of the following ways: 1) as an employment benefit (directly or through a union) along with continued benefits available to retirees; 2) through government-funded programs like the Medicaid and Medicare, which is made available for those individuals who have low income, who are sixty five years old and above, and who are physically challenged; and 3) through purchasing of a health insurance from private companies, which is actually made available for those individuals who are self-employed (Uretsky, 2004).

However, nowadays, employers opted to do the following: 1) they no longer offer health benefits to their employees; or 2) they have reduced the benefits for their employees; or 3) they have withdrawn benefits from their employees who have already retired (Uretsky, 2004). In addition, most employment-based plans that used to be paid fully by the employers, are being co-paid by the employees (Uretsky, 2004). Simply put, contributions are now being obliged or required from the employees (Uretsky, 2004). The publicly funded plans include the following:

1) Medicare

– administered by the federal government (Uretsky, 2004);

– funded by a special “payroll tax” under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (Uretsky, 2004);

– intended for individuals sixty five years old and above (Uretsky, 2004).

2) Medicaid

– administered by the states, although jointly funded by the federal government and the individual states (Uretsky, 2004);

– the states set the rules and so there are differences in terms of eligibility and services provided which may also be subjected to change, for instance, states that used to implement generous & liberal rules, regulations and policies may limit the number of individuals they are serving because of growing expenses incurred by the states  (Uretsky, 2004);

– intended for those individuals who are low-income earners (Uretsky, 2004).

3) State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

– intended for children whose family income is too high for the Medicaid yet too low to acquire private health insurance (Uretsky, 2004);

– intended also for individuals who have full-time jobs but were not offered with an employment-based insurance (Uretsky, 2004);

– similar to the Medicaid, the states set the rules, eligibility is at the discretion of the states, they may intensify eligibility or cap the program, for instance, in 2005, the state of Texas decided to drop one hundred sixty nine thousand children from their program (Uretsky, 2004).

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