Different administrative healthcare mechanisms and policies are characterized by distinct methods of expenditure control and ownership. As stated by Birk (2016), in the United States, “the power controlling the cost of healthcare is shared by insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies alike” (p. e451). In addition, since 2009, the number of hospitals owned by non-profit organizations has decreased in the country, whereas for-profit healthcare institutions usually gain higher profits from the same services than non-profit institutions (Birk, 2016). Some researchers and practitioners consider that such a system is associated with over-diagnosis and over-treatment since healthcare is approached there as a big business in which profit is one of the primary concerns (Faria, 2016). Thus, for a large number of insured and uninsured individuals alike, the issue of access to healthcare arises since prices can often be extremely high. Moreover, this healthcare mechanism induces significant healthcare expenditures on the national level, in general.
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Socialized medicine implies better control over healthcare costs and, thus, it can potentially become a good solution to the discussed problems in the present-day US system. As stated by Birk (2016), there is no evidence proving that “by spending more on medical care, people will be healthier” (p. e451). At the same time, the cases of France and the Netherlands, where cost-cutting policies are implemented, demonstrate that a lower per capita spending for healthcare is linked to improved health outcomes (Birk, 2016). Clearly, it is a great advantage when people do not need to think about the affordability of care. However, the risk of poorer service quality in socialized medicine is probably valid. Nevertheless, Birk (2016) notes that the control of healthcare expenses and cost-cutting can result in more patient-centered and holistic care model and, ultimately, better patient outcomes. Overall, if the United States will ever decide to implement this system, some additional instruments and mechanisms will be required to control both quality and expenditures at once.
Birk H. S. (2016). United States National Healthcare Policies 2015: An analysis with implications for the future of medicine. Cureus, 8(1), e451.
Faria M. A. (2016). Free market or socialized medicine for the future of US health care? Surgical Neurology International, 7, 68.