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The Problematic Health Care Issues

The health care system in America has lost many patients over the years and is still losing them. Whether it is from medical errors, accidents, or infections in hospitals, the statistics are evidently showing a  decrease. And with Trumpcare, the decrease will most probably be even greater. But what about the mortality and suffering from millions of procedures that were not necessary in the first place? Still, those are not all of the problems the American health care system has been facing in the past 20+ years. This situation is common in many countries in the world, not just in the United States of America.

It is evident (according to the statistics) that the American health care system is having some huge problems. Let’s name just a few.

 No official records made public

Well, this is obvious since there is more information available (both online and offline) on buying a new car than about lifesaving health care. Let’s see only the case of early elective deliveries. Although there have been many warnings over the years both from medical societies and national organizations against this practice, the rates of these deliveries have been rising for decades.

In 2010, a purchaser-driven organization called The Leapfrog Group started reporting early elective delivery rates given by hospitals. Then, all of a sudden, the rates started declining. In 2013, Leapfrog released the 2012 data showing that the national rate for early elective deliveries was about 5% down from the year 2010. This was based on a voluntary survey where about 800 hospitals gave their data willingly. What do you think? What really caused this change and was it effective in the long run?

When it comes to health, your zip code matters more than your genetic code.”— Dr. Tony Iton 

 There is some unnecessary care

To a common mind, it may come as a surprise that somewhere between one-third to half of all health care costs comes from overuse and unnecessary care accounts. To put it in real numbers, that would be hundreds of billions of dollars a year. And what about that half-a-trillion per year which experts attribute to lost productivity and disability? As we can see from these numbers, much money is wasted each year, and there is no real optimistic view that it could change in the most recent future.

Let’s get back to the elective early deliveries—most of these are unnecessary, and only a small percent is really a life-saving procedure. According to the advice given by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,  for more than 30 years, this practice has been a problem, and it seems that it will never stop. The real dramatic escalation in the rates of these deliveries was seen back in the 1990s to the first decade of this century. What do you think the situation is today?

 Patients suffer for no reason

This is a bit hard to imagine, but those who have been to a hospital at least once have heard this kind of stories.  The statistics go hand in hand with the stories saying that one in four Medicare beneficiaries that are admitted to a hospital suffers from some kind of harm during their stay. Women and newborns are not excluded when it comes to the early elective deliveries. It is a fact that babies born at 37-39 completed weeks gestation are at high risk of respiratory problems, admission to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and have much a higher risk of dying.

 Money lost for no reason

Many annual reports made by the Institute of Medicine Health say that a third or even more of health care costs are wasted. The unnecessary, harmful early elective deliveries cost nearly $1 billion per year.

 Strange incentives

Medicare and Medicaid pay providers for whatever services they deliver regardless of whether the service is necessary or not. As such, our payment system encourages early elective deliveries. So, what should a country do about it if the hospitals are not against these unnecessary costs since they bring them more business?

 As a conclusion…

Quite recently, the Department of Health and Human Services declared early elective deliveries as a top priority issue that has to end as soon as possible. Also, a growing cadre of providers, policymakers, and consumer advocates is uniting to deal with this problem. Purchasers and consumers have to keep up the pressure since that will only help in encouraging a real change. We are all well aware that the change is necessary.

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