Containment of healthcare cost is one of the key goals of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In the process of cost reduction, the government must address the effects of the strategies it puts in place. For instance, decreasing the reimbursement for care used is a possible strategy for cost reduction. However, this strategy is likely to cause more harm to healthcare than the benefits. Reduction of reimbursement will reduce the amount spent by the government on healthcare.
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However, as Seshamani, Schwartz, & Volpp (2006) posit, reduction in healthcare reimbursement significantly reduces the revenue for patient-care services. It will therefore negatively affect the morale and the performance of the healthcare practitioners. With poor morale and limited resources in health care facilities, many lives will be lost, indicating a failure in the primary objective of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Healthcare cost can also be reduced by cutting the overhead costs. This approach is more appropriate and is likely to facilitate the achievement of healthcare goals. In a healthcare setting, overhead costs include licensing charges, power, rent, and payment of other fixed charges. In an attempt to cut on healthcare spending, the government can subsidize on power and rent, and reduce the licensing and tax charges paid by hospitals. With the fixed charges reduced, healthcare facilities will be able to significantly reduce the charges hence achieving the goal of healthcare cost reduction.
Ortman, Velkoff, & Hogan (2014) explain that between 2012 and 2050, the American population is expected to show an ageing trend. Aging population in the United States is a challenge to healthcare cost reduction. Aging is associated with increased cases of chronic illness, mental and psychological disorders, and general physical weakness and disability (Wiener & Tilly, 2002). An aging population requires more healthcare attention and hence more spending on healthcare.
If the government is to achieve cost reduction, it is necessary to create a strategy that will ensure that the needs of the aging population are addressed in a cost effective manner. The best way to reduce healthcare spending on aging population is by establishing wellness programs that will prevent the older members of the society from the various risk factors that expose them to health problems. For instance, chronic problems among the aged are caused by sedentary lifestyles. Creating activities that involve older people in community and recreation activities will reduce their chances of chronic diseases, physical disability, and mental health cases.
Malpractices among healthcare practitioners are a setback in the attempt to reduce fatalities and healthcare costs. Malpractices cause healthcare losses in terms of time, resources, and health quality. In the attempt to achieve the goals of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the government must ensure that healthcare malpractices are eliminated through severe penalties and improved training of healthcare practitioners. With the practitioners trained and aware of the consequences of healthcare malpractices, resource wastage will be reduced as well as healthcare costs. More lives will be saved by achieving the goals of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The goals of the Affordable Care Act can be achieved through a number of approaches. Improving people’s health is a crucial step in creating a society with few fatalities and less spending on healthcare. A healthy nation can be achieved through a combination of both curative and preventive measures. In areas where people are already exposed to diseases, health can be improved by finding them and providing with necessary treatment as well as by preventing the spread of diseases to uninfected people. This initiative requires healthcare research to determine the best curative approach to the existing health problem.
Preventive measures can take a number of approaches. First, health problems can be prevented through wellness events. The wellness events include sports, healthy living workshops, and community welfare programs. When people participate in physical activities such as sports, they are protected from health problems associated with sedentary lifestyle. Healthy living workshops provide a platform for the public to be educated on how to live healthy lives and on the importance of avoiding unhealthy lifestyles.
Community welfare programs prevent societies from health problems in various ways. First, such programs bring people together, reducing the chances of people suffering from mental disorders caused by lonely lives. Community welfare programs also engage in health and hygiene activities such as city cleaning, thus minimizing the chances of diseases breakout.
The government has a duty to establish curative and preventive health measures. However, the success of the measures depends on the participation and good-will of the people. The measures should therefore implement such that will motivate the participation of the public in the preventive events. One way to motivate people is through the introduction of a reward system where they will earn points for healthy lifestyle behaviors.
The points can then be turned into prizes. The government can introduce punitive measures such as higher deductibles to people who engage in unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking. Public participation in preventive services can also be encouraged by making all of them free. The government should pay for the preventive services without demanding the public to pay for a portion of the charges.
Ortman, J. M., Velkoff, V. A., & Hogan, H. (2014). An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States: Population Estimates and Projections. Web.
Seshamani, M., Schwartz, J. S., & Volpp, K. G. (2006). The Effect of Cuts in Medicare Reimbursement on Hospital Mortality. Health Services Research, 41(3 Pt 1), 683–700.
Wiener, J. M. & Tilly, J. (2002). Population ageing in the United States of America: implications for public programmes. International Journal of Epidemiology 31(4), 776-781.