Health Care Spending
Health care and its associated costs have become the focal point of national debate as lawmakers and citizens alike seek ways to guarantee health care services that are safe, effective, and affordable. Consider the following:
Health expenditures in the United States neared $2.6 trillion in 2010, over ten times the $256 billion spent in 1980. Since 2002, employer-sponsored health coverage for family premiums have increased by 97%, placing increasing cost burdens on employers and workers….Total government spending has increased considerably, straining federal and state budgets. In total, health spending accounted for 17.9% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010 (Beamesderfer & Ranji, 2012).
There is an ongoing need to strike a balance between the clinical imperatives associated with patient care and the financial realities under which health care organizations operate. As health care is an issue that touches every individual in the country, the levels of health care spending have a direct effect on the well-being of all stakeholders.
In this week, you examine the current financial state of health care in America and how it influences your daily decisions as a nurse manager.
No one is immune to the rising costs of health care. Consider the following news stories:
- “In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job” (Halle & Seshamani, 2009, Introduction, para. 1).
- “President Obama’s health care law is putting new strains on some of the nation’s most hard-pressed hospitals, by cutting aid they use to pay for emergency care for illegal immigrants, which they have long been required to provide” (Bernstein, 2012, para. 1).
- “Doctors in America are harboring an embarrassing secret: Many of them are going broke. This quiet reality, which is spreading nationwide, is claiming a wide range of casualties, including family physicians, cardiologists and oncologists…Doctors list shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, rising business and drug costs among the factors preventing them from keeping their practices afloat” (Kavilanz, 2012, para. 1, 2, 5).
In this Discussion, you examine the overall state of health care costs in America, the different factors impacting the finances of health care organizations, and the effect of rising costs on all stakeholders.
- Review the Learning Resources on the level of health care spending in the United States.
- Consider the ramifications of continuing at this level of spending as well as issues involved with reducing spending.
- Reflect on which stakeholders (payers, providers, and the general population) should be responsible for making decisions on health care spending.