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Managed Care, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 436

Essay

The trend toward managed care in the United States predicates certain questions. Overall, is it good or bad for the health care system? To address this, three component questions are answered here.

Is managed care increasing or decreasing costs in the United States? Managed care seems to be decreasing costs to the consumer in the health care industry. Although physicians did not initially embrace the idea that it might be at least partially their responsibility to limit the cost of doing business, they are becoming more adept with it (Tufts Managed Care Institute, 1998).

Is it increasing or decreasing access? Managed care seems to be decreasing access. One method physicians have implemented to limit the cost for a consumer is to decrease the frequency with which they send patients to specialists (Tufts Managed Care Institute, 1998). In other words, the primary care physicians are doing more for the patient than they used to, because they are less likely to delegate some responsibilities to specialists.

Is it improving or degrading quality of care? Managed care does not seem to be either increasing or decreasing the quality of care. The United States still has (undisputedly to global peers) the best quality of health care in the world. Interestingly, certain statistics reveal that the limitations of American health care system. For example, the US has higher infant mortality rate and a lower life expectancy that some other industrialized nations (Tufts Managed Care Institute, 1998).

These statistics speak to the question of access. Although US healthcare appears to be the best, not as many people can afford it as in other similar countries. Where American physicians limit the access to individual specialists in the managed care paradigm, they increase access to primary care for people that belong to traditionally underserved demographics.

To be fair, it must be mentioned that the difference between the US and other similar nations with respect to certain indicators of public health such as mentioned above may be accounted for within the prevailing life styles. The implication here is that, although the US boasts the highest quality of health care of its peers, the impact is lower because the American lifestyle is harder on the body than that of other nations. For example, we eat more red meat than people in other countries. We probably drink more copious amounts of alcohol and drugs (as a group). We work longer hours, and we rest less. We are more competitive, and our ideals of rugged individualism and radical personal freedom weaken our social bonds.

Reference

Tufts Managed Care Institute. (1998). The Health Care System in the United States: Integrating Cost and Quality. Retrieved from https://www.thci.org/downloads/USHealthSystem.pdf

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