Ethical Framework for Discussing U.S. Health Care Reforms
An ethical approach to a decision-making process should provide a significant shift to the perception of health care insurance and cost issues in the United States. Adhering to the idea of free and equal access of all people to the high quality medical care irrespective of social status, nationality, race distinction, and gender, introducing new approaches to allocating resources, as well as rationalizing the costs and insurance of health care system would be paramount for the U.S. health sphere.
To introduce changes to the American health care, it is imperative to keep to a utilitarian ethical framework where a worth action is morally justified if it provides positive outcomes to individuals. In this respect, “the consequences of leading health care solely to market forces… is not viewed as acceptable when a significant portion of the population lacks access to health services” (Steinbock, Arras, & London, 191).
Introducing liberty-limiting principles, particularly the concept of paternalism and social welfare should provide significant improvements to the quality of health care in particular and life of U.S. citizens in general. Moreover, looking at the problem of resources allocation, specific attention should be paid to the issue of human rights, particularly to the equality of men and women in society. This principle should be applicable to health care system as well.
Underpinnings for Introducing Health Care Reforms: Comparing Current Situation with That in Other Countries
Criticism of health care sphere in the United States is justified because many researchers highlight the pitfalls and drawbacks of the current situation.
In particular, Orszag insists on the idea that “improving the quality of health care and reducing its cost will require that doctors make many changes” among which “working on weekends and consenting to quality management are two clear ones” (n. p.). In other words, the primary focus should be made on the quality of health care delivery, as well as equal access of all people to free medical treatment.
At least all people should be provided with professional help irrespective of insurance policies. Similar concerns are expressed Affordable Health Choices Act foreseeing reorganization of healthcare system and its shit to a patient-centered approach to medical therapy services (Morgan 1). In addition, high quality of care should envision social safety and welfare for all U.S. citizens, which according to legislature have equal rights for medical treatment (Steinbock, Arras, & London 175).
A comparative analysis of U.S. health care system with the health care systems in other countries highlights the existing gaps in the American insurance health issues, as well as quality of medical treatment. For instance, the statistics provided by the World Health Organization prove French health care to be the first whereas the U.S. system takes the 37th place (Shapiro n. p.).
The quality of the French system, therefore, bases on the concepts of choices and options, which is exactly the U.S. system lacks. Deliberating on the German health care, Knox states, “…there’s usually little or no wait to get elective surgery or diagnostic tests, such as MRI. It’s one of the world’s best health care systems, visible in ways that most German take for granted” (n. p.) Just like the U.S. nation respects its cultural and social values, the Dutch system of health care chooses a national approach to treating their values.
Respecting their patients’ views and rights, they try to attach principles that would be congruent with their moral and ethics (Neighmond n. p.). Finally, the situation in the UK provides serious underpinnings for the United States to think over the changes in the sphere of health care as fare as insurance gap is concerned (Silberner n. p.).
Regarding to the above-presented facts, introducing constant changes and significant reforms to the U.S health care is imperative to solve the urgent problems because the plan of providing all citizens with insurance failed (Reid n. p.).
Regarding Reid’s deliberations on the future perspective of Medicare, it is hard to judge whether future reforms are going to be successful or not because too many gaps have been highlighted. The highest probability of success can occur ethical frameworks will be introduced and underscored because they can contribute to an effective decision-making process (Grouse, n. p.).
While investigating the problem of resources allocation, much concern should be focused on the priorities of investing resource either in technological development or in the actual delivery of high quality services (Steinbock, Arras, & London 190).
Discussing cost problems and rational allocation of health care resources requires consideration of ethical principle in a broader philosophical context. Establishing paternalistic principles on private sector can contribute to better delivery of medical treatment to larger amounts of population. While considering an ethical framework and legislation, much attention should be paid of life choices of individuals.
In this respect, “everyone is guaranteed access to “acceptable level” or …of health care” and, under these circumstances, “society will have lived up to its moral obligation” (Steinbock, Arras, & London 175). A rational distribution of resources will deprive health care system of the problem of scare resources and will ensure free and equal access of the U.S. citizens to the health care establishments.
In addition, there should be an adequate algorithm of spending private and government financial funds to provide marginally effective treatments. In order to introduce such changes, difficult decisions should be made because physicians should reconsider their ethical principles and introduce morally justified schemes of patient treatment.
With regard to the above-presented assumptions and findings, it should be stressed that the problem of expenditures and resources allocation should not threaten the health of individuals.
While allocating resources, the primary focus should be made on the U.S. Constitution revealing equality and freedom as priority principles. Utilitarian principles should also be taken into the deepest consideration to provide a shift to existing health insurance system and introduce significant changes to the overall U.S. health care system.
Moreover, using the best health care reforms practices taking place in other countries highlights the importance of introducing new ethical and legal models for improving the quality of life in the United States. First of all, tangible changes should be introduced to the sphere of doctor’s responsibilities and obligations, as well as quality management concerns.
Second, the principle of distributing medical resources should be based on patient-oriented approach, where the primary concern should be connected with the extent to which an individual is in need of help, but not with the presence of insurance. Finally, introducing liberty-limiting and right principles are among the most important ethical principles that should be followed by health care professionals.
Grouse, Lawrence. Physicians for Sale: How Medical Professional Organizations Exploit Their Members. 2008. Web 16 Mar. 2012 http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/577178
Knox, Richard. Most Patient Happy with German Health Care. National Public Radio. 2008. Web 16 Mar. 2012 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91971406
Morgan, Rebecca. AACP Support New Healthcare Reform Legislation. American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. 1-2. 2009. Web 16 Mar. 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/04/opinion/04orszag.html?_r=2&emc=eta1
Neighmond, Patti. Netherlands’ Health Care Reflects National Values. National Public Radio. 2008. Web 16 Mar. 2012 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92641635
Orszag, Peter. Health Care’s Lost Weekend. The New York Times. 2010. Web 16 Mar. 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/04/opinion/04orszag.html?_r=2&emc=eta1
Reid, Thomas R. T. R. Reid: Can We Really Fix U.S. Health Care? The Commonwealth Club of California. 2009. Web 16 Mar. 2012 http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2009-09-14/tr-reid-can-we-really-fix-us-health-care
Shapiro, Joseph. Health Care Lessons from France. National Public Radio. 2008. Web 16 Mar. 2012 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92419273
Silberner, Joanne. MS Patient Falls into American Insurance Gap. National Public Radio. 2008. Web 16 Mar. 2012 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92067101
Steinbock, Bonnie., Arras, John., & London, Alex. L. Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine. US: McGraw Hill. 2003. Print.