Equity in health care provision is an essential aspect that should be adequately addressed. For a long time, people have suffered immensely from health inequalities that arise as a result of difference cultural and socio-economic issues we face in life. It is our obligation to ensure that we put in place some support principles that guarantee proper health care for all individuals. Universality and increased accessibility of health services to individuals regardless of cultural, socio and ethnic differences in our daily lives are critical aspects in promoting health equity. It is, however, important to note that equity in the health sector is rarely achieved in a hypothetical community (Kimball, Neal, Waters & Hoh, 2014). Different aspects of life have contributed immensely to the quality of healthcare provision. This paper will discuss at length various financial factors that influence health care today. The research will also consider how efficient and equality in health service provision can be achieved in modern health set up.
Social Economic Status and Health Outcomes
The relationship between social, economic status and health outcomes has been a contentious issue for a long time. Social, economic status has been the fundamental cause of health disparity in the modern economy. To determine the relationship between social, economic status and health outcomes, it is imperative to have a clear definition to this concept. For a long time, the concept has been defined by three components namely; education, occupation, and income. All of the three elements have had different impacts on health outcomes among different patients.
From the past researchers, there is a positive relationship between health outcomes and social, economic status. For instance, a study was conducted on stroke treatment in the United States. It is believed that stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Effective stroke treatment includes intra-arterial thrombolysis, thrombectomy, IV thrombolysis, and angioplasty. All these processes are expensive and not offered in all the hospitals. From these studies, it is evident that thrombolysis rates are highest at academic medical centers and hospitals that have higher stroke treatment volume. Thrombolysis rates were also higher in white patients as compared to the African Americans and Hispanics. Hispanic Americans, African Americans had cheap access to IV thrombolysis as well as limited access to hospitals with higher stroke treatment volume (Kimball, Neal, Waters & Hoh, 2014). This is a clear indication that low-income patients will get lower health outcomes as compared to the rich and people in the upper social class.
It is worth understanding that high stroke volume hospitals are consistently associated with lower stroke mortality. The reason behind this is the quality of prevalent treatment in these hospitals. These hospitals harbor many specialists that include stroke neurologists, neurosurgeons, and neurointerventionalists. The presence of such highly qualified personnel reflects better health outcomes. It is, however, prudent noting that acquiring services of these professional requires an extra income that the weak in society may not have access. This is evident from the research that indicates that only 10.6% of African Americans who had access to IV thrombolysis as compared to the 20.3% of white patients.
To prove a correlation between health outcomes and social, economic status, there was an empirical research between parental income and health status of their children. The study confirmed children from poor families are born at ill health state and are likely to even falling behind as they develop with age. The reasoning behind this conclusion is the fact that higher household income gives parents an opportunity to provide better nutrition, safe environment, and better medical attention and purchase health insurance for their children (Kimball, Neal, Waters & Hoh, 2014). It is also essential to understand that higher income parents can also be able to manage chronic health problems adhering and seeking medical attention appropriately. In essence, high-income families highly educated, and those with reputable occupations in the society have better clinical outcomes as compared to the poor in the society.
Health Care A Right Or A Privilege?
From the aforementioned analysis, it is quite apparent that health outcomes are significantly determined by different social, economic and cultural factors. This has brought about a debate on whether access to quality health care is a right to every individual or a privilege to those who can afford. Although every individual has the right to access quality health services regardless of their ages, religion, race, ethnicity or social class. It is, however, imperative noting that this is not the current situation and inequality in healthy provision is a thorny issue that requires urgent attention.
For a long time, most federal governments have failed to address the issue of healthcare accessibility even to the poor. Conservatives argue that medical care is a personal responsibility and taking the government to cater for medical bills would lead to increased debts and compromise the quality of healthcare. Nevertheless, it would be wise for every federal government to improve accessibility and equality in health care provision without compromising the quality of service offered (Diaz de León-Castañeda, Ramírez-Fernández & Pinzon Florez, 2013). Access to quality healthcare services should be a right to every individual. This does not mean that health services should be entirely free, but the government should put in place legislations and policies that ensure increased access to quality Medicare. For instance, patients should be encouraged to pay health insurance schemes that allow medical access without cash payments. The government should also cater insurance expenses for the poor in the society.
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is one of the major steps undertaken by the United States to deal with market imbalances prevalent in the country for long time. ACA has to a great extent been instrumental in advancing the health of Americans. The Act has substantially improved equity and access to health services as well as reducing costs in the healthcare system in the United States. Nevertheless, the introduction of this Act is not a solution to the problems facing the American healthcare sector. The enactment of this Act requires integration of other government regulatory authorities to ensure satisfactory control of the health sector (Dolan & Mokhtari, 2013). Though the Act has provided increased accessibility to quality healthcare, the Act does not guarantee health care as a right to every citizen. It is this premise that I am of the opinion that ACA is not the answer to health problems facing the Americans.
Fiscal Responsibility in Nursing Role
The modern dynamic healthcare sector requires that nurses incorporate financial responsibility in their nursing duties. Nurses are critical people to the patients and the healthcare institutions. Adhering and comprehending the key issues of finance management will lead to increased patients care and provide a pleasant working environment. Most health care providers will always strive to ensure quality and safer health services at minimum costs. Nurses are to a great extent a valuable resource that spends a substantial amount of the service providers’ budget (‘Nurses will only speak out if someone listens’, 2013). It is for this reason that these organizations will try as much as possible to reduce the number of nurses with an intention of cutting costs.
Despite the financial considerations, nurses must be guided by strong codes of ethics that will ensure that patients care is not compromised by financial constraints. Delivering the ideal patient experience in an environment of dwindling reimbursements and greater fiscal responsibility will only be achieved through the designing and development of a committed, patient-centered, high performing multidisciplinary team of nurses.
Health Care Vision in Ideal America
As earlier stated, access to quality healthcare is a fundamental right that every American citizen should enjoy. In my opinion, there should be strong legislations just like the ones that guarantee access to basic education and security to all citizens. The American health sector ought to provide an insurance scheme where every citizen contributes a certain amount that would be used to cater for medical expenses. The poor in the society would be exempted from such contributions and be allowed to get entirely free medical care. The health sector would also ensure the presence of health facilities in all the rural and urban areas that would provide increased accessibility of health services (Spicker, 2005). Properly trained health personnel and nurses with proper enumeration would be posted to all public health provision centers. Efficient and modern equipment essential to healthcare provision will be distributed in all public health centers to increase equity in health provision. I dream of a time when comprehensive health care will be given priority by the US government.
Diaz de LeÃ³n-CastaÃ±eda, C., RamÃrez-FernÃ¡ndez, D., & Pinzon Florez, C. (2013). Compared Analysis of Inequalities in Health and Influence of Social Determinants of Health in Cuba and USA. Value In Health, 16(7), A711. doi:10.1016/j.jval.2013.08.2189
Dolan, E., & Mokhtari, M. (2013). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Pros and Cons. Journal of Family And Economic Issues, 34(1), 1-2. doi:10.1007/s10834-013-9352-5
Kimball, M., Neal, D., Waters, M., & Hoh, B. (2014). Race and Income Disparity in Ischemic Stroke Care: Nationwide Inpatient Sample Database, 2002 to 2008. Journal Of Stroke And Cerebrovascular Diseases, 23(1), 17-24. doi:10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2012.06.004
Nurses will only speak out if someone listens. (2013). Nursing Standard, 27(41), 1-1. doi:10.7748/ns2013.06.27.41.1.s1
Spicker, S. (2005). The right to health care and other misconceptions. Medicine, Health Care And Philosophy, 8(1), 115-117. doi:10.1007/s11019-005-1025-1
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