Effects of the US Health System – Health System Example

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"Effects of the US Health System " is a wonderful example of a paper on the health system. There are certain characteristics by which the U. S health care system is uniquely identified including privately provided health care, quite unlike the case in most developed countries in which taxes finance and provide universal health care. In the U. S., most health facilities are in private hands and all U. S citizens are required to have health insurance covers. Nonetheless, the U. S government provides social insurance covers, Medicaid, and Medicare for eligible low-income families, people aged 65 and older, people with special needs/disabilities, and military veterans (Health Insurance Association of America, 1995).

Since the U. S government supports research by pharmaceutical firms, which form a sizeable portion of the U. S health system, allowing these firms to sell their drugs at a higher price than in other developed countries, it has to cover the drug costs in the insurance covers provided. These characteristics of the U. S health care system have several effects not only on providers’ and health care seekers’ behaviors but only on the affordability and accessibility of health care. Effects of the Characteristics of U. S Health Care System                       As is evident from the mentioned characteristics, the U. S health care system consumes quite a substantial portion of the country’ s GDP although the value of care has been shown to decline by the day.

The high cost of privately owned health facilities and services has resulted in an unhealthy relationship among health risks, quality, and cost (McCormick et al. , 2009). In fact, this unhealthy relationship has unfortunately eluded remedy and continues to make health care not only expensive but also inaccessible to many.

The fundamental financial and accessibility misalignments have thus affected health care seekers’ confidence and trust in seeking health care in these privately owned facilities thus changing their attitude and behavior towards health care in the U. S (WHO, 2011). The structural and functional outcomes of the U. S health care system have thus affected the system’ s accessibility and affordability. There is thus a mismatch between the health care system’ s vertical components (government legislations) and horizontal components (patients and providers) (McCormick et al. , 2009). Also hindering health care access in the U. S are the many hierarchies and the failures of the system’ s components and their relationships to address the needs of health care seekers, pointing to the failure by the system to self-organize for patients’ good.

The system’ s breakdown of relationships, diminishing values, demoralized providers, and the runaway cost have also visibly affected patients’ confidence, behavior, and trust towards it (Docteur & Oxley, 2004). The need for an alternative approach that improves accessibility, patient trust, and provider morale and drive cannot thus be overemphasized in the case of the United States. This new approach must ensure that all the components of society are included via the provision of many subsystems of financiers, providers, or suppliers.

Further, the system should establish healthy relationships that are solid and foster feedback by eliminating the existing hierarchies, financial, and legislative barriers that hinder health care accessibility (Janecka, 2009). The hierarchies should further be eliminated since they hinder information transfer. The disorganized and heavily compartmentalized health care system in the U. S should perhaps be the first area of focus in any reform attempts on the system. Conclusion To address the U. S health system’ s characteristics that hinder care accessibility and provider/seeker behaviors towards the system, certain recommendations are in order.

First, self-health and self-care should be prioritized as the "self" is the smallest recognizable subsystem, which is the starting point of a healthcare system and peoples’ health should be held in higher regard than care. The government should also restore positive energy and financial assistance in the system via the introduction of life and health insurance for all citizens. Finally, the structural and functional elements of the system must also reciprocate.


Docteur, E., and Oxley, H. (2004). Health-system reform: lessons from experience". Towards high-performing health systems: policy studies. The OECD health project.

Health Insurance Association of America (1995). Managed care: integrating the delivery and financing of health care - part A. Health Insurance Association of America.

Janecka, P. I. (2009). Is U.S. Health Care an Appropriate System? A Strategic Perspective from Systems Science. Retrieved on July 24, 2012 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2629469/

McCormick, D., Bor, D. H., and Hammerstein, D. U. (2009). "Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults". American Journal of Public Health, 99 (12), 2289.

WHO (2011). World health statistics 2011. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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