The Future of Health Care


In discussions concerning the future of healthcare, certain subjects such as innovations and information technology become paramount. The concerns of the future of health care signify digitalization, enhanced connectivity, and improved relationship between medical professionals and patients, which will lead to better medical attention (Brende et al., 2017). Patents will be in a position of receiving more individualized care in addition to a real-time screening of their symptoms and conditions. The future of health care will depend on avant-garde innovations and technology, which may be further advanced to cater to the needs of each patient.

Key Stakeholders

The major stakeholders who could shape the health care sector in the United States are doctors, government, insurance firms, and pharmaceutical companies. Insurance firms could influence the health care system by regulating the rate at which they sell coverage plans. Pharmaceutical companies generate and distribute medicines that are prescribed by physicians to patients as part of their treatment.

Characteristically, they obtain remuneration via governmental and insurance drug-advantage arrangements (Acosta et al., 2017). Doctors and other health professionals provide medical care while patients are the recipients. Moreover, the government is in a position of influencing the overall cost of care or subsidizing it for the disabled, poor, and the aged. All the stakeholders carry out fundamental responsibilities and duties through which they could shape the health care system in the US.

Presently, the increasing premiums and strict demands from insurance firms are limiting people from obtaining coverage. Insurance firms have for a long time remained profit propelled, although the nature of the service they provide necessitates them to avoid focusing on profitability to influence the health system positively. When insurance firms increase the cost of premiums, they make it difficult for patients to obtain sufficient healthcare attributable to fiscal hardships (Acosta et al., 2017).

Therefore, insurance firms should find a suitable balance involving their accountability between patients and shareholders to shape the health care system positively. Nevertheless, the reports regularly issued by stockholders persuade insurance firms to center strongly on profits when compared to affordability. This continues to make insurance companies maintain stringent regulations against preexisting situations, which results in healthy people being chosen for their plans.

The selected individuals do not have costly expenses as people with chronic conditions. If not addressed, this unethical practice will curtail personal development and influence the health care system in the US negatively by reducing it to a profit-centered sector and preventing patients from obtaining care (Saint Leo University, n.d.).

Contrary to other stakeholders in the health sector, doctors not only uphold integrity but also enjoy direct fiduciary tasks and accountabilities toward their patients. Although health professionals are given remuneration for the services they render, the physician-patient rapport acts as a sacred trust that goes beyond financial reward (Saint Leo University, n.d.). If doctors put efforts to improve their relationship with patients and the care they give, they could easily shape the health care sector in the United States.

Furthermore, the US government has the responsibility of ensuring that its citizens obtain care. How well the government pushes for the improvement of the quality of care could shape the health care industry significantly (Acosta et al., 2017). As responsible stewards, doctors have a crucial role in making sure that patients get sufficient medical attention and regulating the increasing costs of care. To shape the health care system in the US positively, physicians should find a balance between maintaining a gatekeeper task for the insurance firms and remaining an advocate for patients (Saint Leo University, n.d.).

The Affordable Care Act

From the time of the inception of the Affordable Care Act, insurer contribution and competition has gradually decreased. Instead of spurring competition, increasingly fewer insurers are providing coverage to the population. Studies establish that the number of people registered in subsidized exchange plans has reduced or remained stagnant at a rate below the target level, which was predicted to ensure proper functioning of the program. Approximately 15 percent of America’s population was not under any insurance coverage in early 2018, which marked a significant rise from 12 percent in 2016 (Rice, Unruh, van Ginneken, Rosenau, & Barnes, 2018).

This was witnessed regardless of there being a huge reduction in the unemployment level. Decreases in the rate of health insurance coverage in the face of employment increase prove that progressively fewer individuals are under Obamacare. Moreover, the people enrolled in the coverage have a high likelihood of being sicker, unemployable, or in poorer conditions when compared to the people in other health plans.

Republicans have managed to eradicate the fine for the lack of health insurance coverage, which has fundamentally resulted in healthier individuals opting out of any such schemes and waiting until they become sickly to enroll. The arising impact is that insurance firms are being left with the sickly people, who utilize more resources, which will continue to compel their increase in the cost of premiums. With the federal health care plans set for every year, organizations that collect premiums are anticipated to pass on the rising cost to their clients (Béland, Rocco, & Waddan, 2018). Therefore, the patients who enroll at the private, state, and federal level have a likelihood of experiencing progressive premium increases.

There are two alternatives as to what could happen to the Affordable Care Act. First, there is a probability that the Affordable Care Act could be repealed devoid of any replacement. Second, a single-payer approach could substitute the Affordable Care Act. If the Affordable Care Act is completely and immediately repealed without being replaced, the level of insured people in the United States would decrease by about 20 million. Furthermore, out-of-pocket expenses for an enrollee in the market would become approximately 7,000 dollars per annum, a rise of 4,000 dollars over the state of affairs (Rice et al., 2018).

Repeal will raise the federal deficit by over 30 billion dollars annually when compared to the status quo, mainly because it could eradicate the Affordable Care Act’s revenue-collection provisions. On the contrary, a single-payer plan will shift the funding of medical care from premiums given by individuals and employers to taxation. Tax-anchored funding is fundamental to true universal coverage because it signifies that every person is automatically covered. However, it could also be disrupting. The entire amount used on medical care could reduce under a single-payer approach though some individuals would ultimately pay less than others.

Political Ideologies

When people become unwell, they refer nearly unconsciously to questions regarding their diet, physical activity, or the people with whom they were in contact. Their search for treatment then shifts to medicines and physicians (Fox, Feng, & Yumkham, 2017).

Patients trust that doctors’ integrity will result in their dedication to excellence, improved patient outcome, and quality of care. Though such decisions influence people’s welfare, they reveal instances of individual health (Saint Leo University, n.d.). Most significantly, they are greatly established by political ideologies and economic aspects that affect the whole system. The strength of political ideologies on the future lies in the fact that they determine the number of physicians available and people’s ability to get treatment (Fox et al., 2017).

The assessment of the effects of systemic aspects demands evaluation of the basic form of a community’s political establishment, its political philosophy, and health of the population. Political ideologies of the ruling party have the ability to influence all segments of society through checking the existing establishments. Accordingly, this may affect the future of health systems through economic and social strategies that not only shape the interests of a state but also the structure of the labor force (Saint Leo University, n.d.).

Even in the occurrences of liberal political ideologies, the US represents the most considerable types of privatization. Attempts to improve the medical coverage in the United States, for instance, the issue of the Affordable Care Act, have experienced strong opposition from political ideologies of leaders dedicated to a system of free market capitalism. Therefore, progress towards equitable strategies may be restrained by political ideologies and end up affecting the idea of privatization hence negatively influencing the future of health care (Fox et al., 2017).

Although it may be argued that the future of health care offers patients increased management over their treatment, the amount of money that patients are required to pay in a private health institution limits access to treatment to only the wealthy. The inequity entrenched in such inclinations is laid bare in a growing divergence of health in the United States, where individuals are perceived to be either untreatable or very healthy. Liberal political ideologies have a likelihood of strongly affecting the future by decreasing expenditure on medical services, permitting exploitative labor situations, or helping privatization in health care thus compromising access to treatment.

A Single-Payer System

Americans would be better with a single-payer system. This is because the system has the ability to bring down the cost of care in numerous approaches. One way is through reducing the amount of money paid for medical care (increased costs are the major rationale behind the US spending more when compared to other nations). Another means would be through a decrease in administrative expenses for insurance sales and billing.

Moreover, a reduction in profits would decrease the cost of care. Although countries approach their health sector differently, nations with universal coverage have a huge task for government in the regulation of costs and a minimal role when it comes to for-profit insurance firms (Levitt, 2018). Other components of a single-payer arrangement that could reduce medical costs encompass the coverage of more people and reduction or eradication of copayments and deductibles. The net impact on the cost of care depends considerably on the factors under which a single-payer system was planned and executed.

There are already some simplicity factors to single-payer arrangements that have been recommended thus far countrywide and in states such as California. This makes the single-payer plan particularly clear contrary to the present arrangements in the health system, which interlinks public schemes such as Medicaid and Medicare with employer-anchored and individually purchased private health insurance coverage in messy and obscure approaches. To support the single-payer system is the fact that everyone will be covered; any person will be free to seek the services of any hospital or doctor with no out-of-pocket expenses.

Nonetheless, such simplicity has the effect of obscuring trade-offs, which are unavoidable in any intensive health transformation (Levitt, 2018). Enhanced government involvement in the health sector may result in a reduction of prices although such costs offer income to health institutions, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies, which they will strongly resist decreasing. People might fail to pay premiums or any amount at the point of service though they will incur higher taxes. Nonexistence of copayments and deductibles will eliminate monetary barriers to obtaining the required medical attention but will lead to more needless care.

The Rest of the World’s Health Care in the Future

In the future, the world’s health care will ensure that patients are accorded respect and data on chronic conditions forwarded to the team of care, who will then know timely that specialists are required to offer the needed treatment (Saint Leo University, n.d.).

Though it will be easy for patients to find health professionals with specialized knowledge, they will not necessarily have face-to-face interaction as in the present case. A system of interconnected care signifies that numerous specialists will look at a complex issue simultaneously (Obermeyer & Emanuel, 2016). This will facilitate early diagnosis of patients’ problems through constant monitoring prior to their becoming severe. Although it will not be easy transforming a system that is hard-wired to a reactive one, gradual improvement will ultimately make it possible.

In the future, the pressure on health systems will change attributable to a variety of reasons, encompassing the requirements of patients. Each year, new medicines and treatment processes assist in the management of common diseases. This is facilitated by the advancements in technology, which will also result in increased patient empowerment. The world’s health care will improve to enable individualized treatment and personalized medicine.

With improved findings concerning the specific genetic structure of a tumor, the future health care systems will be in a position of offering efficacious medication and treatment that target it. In the recent past, the chances of surviving cancer have improved from 25% to about 50% (Obermeyer & Emanuel, 2016). The world’s health care systems in the future will improve the possibility of treating cancer to over 75%, which will be enhanced by intensive research.

New Threats, Epidemics, and Technology

In the future, the health sector will experience problems in trying to cope with the consequences of terror attacks. In most instances, such preparations will call for the divagation of other resources. As seen from past occurrences such as the anthrax attacks, the health system is not in a position to rapidly and successfully cope with a terrorist attack. In the future, there will be growing pressure to increase the capacity of local health systems to ensure that they remain prepared.

Additionally, in the course of 1980s and 1990s, there was a shift of the consideration of the health system to the challenges posed by chronic diseases, which presented the view that infectious illnesses were not a threat in the US anymore. However, the emergence of West Nile Virus and acute respiratory syndrome of late, the gradual rise in HIV/AIDS nationally and its fast growth internationally, and the problem of multidrug-resistant bacteria have gainsaid such a perception (Brende et al., 2017). It is now evident that infectious diseases are a serious threat that will probably result in higher interest in studying them as an area of specialization while seeking to restructure the public health sector.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has established that some diseases such as Ebola and Zika have a possibility of becoming epidemics in the future. The emergence of epidemics will compel scientists and medical specialists to come together in an effort of prioritizing the diseases that are anticipated to cause outbreaks, and for which either inadequate or no medical measures have been established.

The occurrence of epidemics in the future will offer a foundation for promoting research and development preparedness and tackling the outbreaks while preventing augment of such incidences. Different teams of scientists will also join hands to identify the likelihood of new strange illnesses and their potential to bring severe epidemics (Tambo, Kazienga, Talla, Chengho, & Fotsing, 2017). The significance of continued research and development endeavors lies in their ability to prepare the future health system for new potential diseases and epidemics.

Technological advancements will create hospitable communities that will facilitate a feeling of belonging, harmony, and mutuality anchored in shared trust and reverence to generate socially responsible settings that will challenge every stakeholder to listen, discover, transform, and serve. Respecting the dignity of patients will make doctors further their commitment to improving the quality of care (Saint Leo University, n.d.).

In the future, technology will also lead to the establishment of new forms of biomarkers (chemical elements which may be assessed in biological samples, for instance, urine and blood) to discover a heightened risk or early commencement of cardiovascular disease. Advanced imaging is also proceeding at a swift pace. In the future, improved technology will make it possible to use images to determine underlying biological progressions inside patients’ bodies (Tambo et al., 2017). For instance, imaging will not only help in the identification of the extent to which an artery to the heart is blocked but also the nature of such blockage and the required action.

With improved technology, regenerative medicine will keep on being a very essential field of study. For example, in the future, it will be possible to reprogram some of the cells in the body to undertake tasks that vary from their initial function (Tambo et al., 2017). Cells that form a scar in the occurrence of heart disease may be altered to make them elicit proper pumping of the patient’s heart, which will greatly improve the quality of care and ensure long life span. With the emergence of wearable technology, conventional patient records, as well as remote monitoring and control, health systems will place emphasis on the collection and analysis of huge quantities of data. This will result in the personalization of care as treatment will be individually adapted to the needs of the patient.

Conclusion

The main stakeholders who could influence the health care sector in the United States are health professionals, government, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance firms. In the future, the Affordable Care Act could either be repealed without any replacement or a single-payer approach could substitute it. The impact of political ideologies on the future health systems is in the determination the number of caregivers available and patients’ access to treatment.

A single-payer system would benefit Americans because it has the ability to reduce the cost of care in various approaches. The implication of persistent research and development attempts lies in their capability to prepare the future health system for new probable conditions and epidemics. Prospective health care will depend on ultramodern innovations and technology, which might be further enhanced to cater for the welfare of each patient.

References

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Béland, D., Rocco, P., & Waddan, A. (2018). Obamacare in the Trump era: Where are we now and where are we going? The Political Quarterly, 89(4), 687-694.

Brende, B., Farrar, J., Gashumba, D., Moedas, C., Mundel, T., Shiozaki, Y.,… Røttingen, J. A. (2017). CEPI- A new global R&D organization for epidemic preparedness and response. The Lancet, 389(10066), 233-235.

Fox, A. M., Feng, W., & Yumkham, R. (2017). State political ideology, policies, and health behaviors: The case of tobacco. Social Science & Medicine, 181, 139-147.

Levitt, L. (2018). Single-payer health care: Opportunities and vulnerabilities. Jama, 319(16), 1646-1647.

Obermeyer, Z., & Emanuel, E. J. (2016). Predicting the future- Big data, machine learning, and clinical medicine. The New England Journal of Medicine, 375(13), 1216-1222.

Rice, T., Unruh, L. Y., van Ginneken, E., Rosenau, P., & Barnes, A. J. (2018). Universal coverage reforms in the USA: From Obamacare through Trump. Health Policy, 122(7), 698-702.

Saint Leo University. (n.d.). History, values, & catholic roots. Web.

Tambo, E., Kazienga, A., Talla, M., Chengho, C. F., & Fotsing, C. (2017). Digital technology and mobile applications impact on Zika and Ebola epidemics data sharing and emergency response. Journal of Health & Medical Informatics, 8, 254-260.