The healthcare system in the United States is currently in a vibrant period of change. The current healthcare system serves the needs of vulnerable populations, and major changes in the components of this system are likely to have a great impact on the health status of this vulnerable population. This essay, guided by Dr. Otis Brawley book, How We Do Harm will look into the areas that the United States healthcare system is missing out on in the delivery of quality care. These include aspects of health economics such as market failures and moral hazards as well as the impact of high costs of healthcare in the United States.
The book How We Do Harm describes the challenges the ordinary American citizen experiences in their quest to get quality healthcare. This includes the under treatment of the poor, the overtreatment of the rich, insurance companies that do not push for the best and least expensive healthcare, financial conflicts that determine the quality of treatment a physician provides as well as the pharmaceutical companies that sell drugs regardless of whether they do harm or improve the quality of health. In the book, the author uses real examples to showcase some of these shortcomings. Helen aged 50 was a cancer patient from the middle class with a good health insurance. After seeing the best cancer specialist, Helen was put on chemotherapy that almost killed her as she was hospitalized for nearly a year. This case shows the absurdity of how medicine is consumed and practiced in the United States. There are those who suffer from illogical and excessive healthcare and those who do not get good healthcare. These cases occur in both the uninsured and the insured.
There are also several other moral issues that affect the healthcare system. The doctors in the healthcare system select the treatment they extend to their patients based on the payment they will obtain rather than making considerations based on scientific results. Pharmaceutical companies and hospitals, on the other hand, treat patients as long as the insurance pays, even if those individuals are not ill. Other cases according to Otis Webb Brawley & Goldberg (2012) include unproven treatments that patients pay for and a primed public that swallows the latest pill in the market regardless of the cost. Brawley in his book calls for a rational healthcare, with scientifically sound treatments, a result based healthcare system and one that does not just peddle new drugs.
With the above threats being witnessed in the health care system, the same further poses a threat to the economy of the country. This, therefore, means that policymakers ought to reform the healthcare system. According to Otis Webb Brawley & Goldberg (2012), the healthcare system is not failing, but functioning as it is designed, as in the greedy serving the gluttonous. The system is not fair in that low-income patients are denied sufficient medical care and the wealthy given poor services while being charged for treatments they do not require and those with dangerous side effects.
In summary, the entire United States health system revolves around an economy that is driven and motivated by proceeds at a great cost to the patients. Otis Webb Brawley & Goldberg (2012) give a collection of buyers beware case studies. This book provides a solid dose of the need to shift the balance of power from the big pharmaceuticals towards patients, the need for precautionary styles to environmental health and the need for addressing and ending health inequities.
Otis Webb Brawley, M. D., & Goldberg, P. (2012). How we do harm: a doctor breaks ranks about being sick in America. St. Martin's Press.
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