[Solved by Nursing Experts] Discussions Surrounding Universal Healthcare
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Health Delivery Systems: Primary Objectives
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As outlined by Shi and Singh (2023), the primary objectives of a health delivery system are two-fold. First, it must ensure that every citizen has the opportunity to access healthcare services, encompassing preventive care, acute care, and chronic care, without regard to their income, insurance status, or place of residence (Shi & Singh, 2023). This emphasizes the importance of universal access to healthcare. The concept of universal healthcare is one often debated in the United States, oftentimes carrying political bias. Zieff et al. (2020) argue that, while implementing a universal healthcare system in the US poses logistical and financial challenges, the long-term benefits it offers to public health and the economy outweigh these obstacles despite strong opposition to universal healthcare from some powerful interests, such as the health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry (Zieff et al., 2020). The second objective outlined by Shi and Singh (2023) is that the health delivery system must provide healthcare services that are both cost-effective and consistently meet established standards of quality (Shi & Singh, 2023). Tzenios (2019) highlights multiple factors inhibit many from accessing affordable, quality healthcare, encompassing individual factors, like income, education level, health literacy, and socioeconomic status; structural factors, such as the availability and accessibility of healthcare providers, resource allocation, and geographic distribution; and systemic factors, including government policies, financing mechanisms, and healthcare system design, with fragmented and inefficient systems posing affordability challenges for individuals and families (Tzenios, 2019). Shi and Singh (2023) do note that the US falls well short of having an optimal healthcare delivery system but highlights advancements in medical research and various innovations for affordable healthcare (Shi & Singh, 2023).
Characteristics of Health Delivery Systems
In discussing the positives and drawbacks, Shi and Singh (2023) also provide ten characteristics of the United States healthcare delivery system, which include a lack of central governing agency and limited integration, a technology-driven focus on acute care, the system’s high cost, unequal access, and average health outcomes, the operation of healthcare delivery under imperfect market conditions, the government’s role as subsidiary to the private sector, a fusion of market justice and social justice principles, the presence of multiple stakeholders with a complex balance of power, a growing quest for system integration and accountability, selective access to healthcare services based on insurance coverage, and the impact of legal risks on healthcare providers’ practice behaviors (Shi and Singh, 2023). Although these characteristics are interrelated and shape the US healthcare delivery system, some are shared with other developed countries in some capacity. Both the United States and United Kingdom health care delivery systems are market-based systems and often face the challenges of imperfect market conditions. Moran (2018) explains that the rise of market forces driving UK healthcare delivery can be attributed to the increasing role of private providers, stemming from the government’s contracting out of services to private providers and the growth of private health insurance (Moran, 2018). Shi and Singh (2023) make note of the US government’s role in financing and regulating health care, but they note that the private sector plays the dominant role in delivering care (Shi & Singh, 2023). However, the key difference is that the UK healthcare system is more heavily regulated than the US healthcare system, such as setting prices for prescription drugs and hospital services, which serves to reduce the impact of imperfect market conditions. Another characteristic shared between the US and the UK is the fusion of market justice and social justice, where market justice emphasizes individual responsibility and choice while social justice emphasizes the importance of ensuring that everyone has access to necessities, such as health care (Shi & Singh, 2023). Dukhanin et al. (2018) argue that it is important to find a balance between market justice and social justice when designing and implementing healthcare by ensuring that everyone has access to basic healthcare services, regulating the market to ensure that it is fair and competitive, and providing subsidies to disadvantaged groups to help them afford healthcare (Dukhanin et al., 2018). It can be argued that while the UK healthcare delivery system places a greater emphasis on social justice by offering universal healthcare, it does not carry the freedoms seen in US healthcare delivery in terms of choosing providers that best meet their medical needs.
While discussions surrounding universal healthcare often carry political undertones, it is worth considering the wisdom found in God’s teachings. Matthew 25:35-36 states, “For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” In these verses, God emphasizes that caring for the sick and needy equates to caring for Him. This passage highlights the importance of displaying compassion for those less fortunate and assisting them to the best of our abilities. Universal healthcare emerges as a means of embodying this biblical principle, ensuring that healthcare access extends to all, irrespective of their economic or social standing.
Dukhanin, V., Searle, A., Zwerling, A., Dowdy, D. W., Taylor, H. A., & Merritt, M. W. (2018). Integrating social justice concerns into economic evaluation for healthcare and public health: A systematic review. Social Science & Medicine, 198, 27-35.
Moran, M. (2018). Explaining the rise of the market in health care. In Markets and Health Care (pp. 17-33). Routledge.
Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2023). Essentials of the U.S. Health Care System — With Access (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. ISBN: 9781284235104.
The Holy Bible, New International Version. (2011). Blue Letter Bible. https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/index.cfmLinks to an external site. (Original work published 1973)
Tzenios, N. (2019). The Determinants of Access to Healthcare: A Review of Individual, Structural, and Systemic Factors. Journal of Humanities and Applied Science Research, 2(1), 1-14.
Zieff, G., Kerr, Z. Y., Moore, J. B., & Stoner, L. (2020). Universal healthcare in the United States of America: A healthy