The role or government in healthcare is quite far reaching. The health sector is going to get quite big in the coming decades. It is estimated that it could take up about 40% of all GNP of the US by 2050. As a result, it is significant that one understands what role the government plays in this sector.
Putting Things into Perspective
As of now, healthcare costs the US two trillion annually. About six hundred billion of all these money is used up in administration. However, this amount is almost double of what other countries spend around the world. These are countries that have higher life expectancy than the United States.
In addition, the system is not able to cover about forty million people. The reason for this is that they have a very low income or they do not have any work. Incentive programs by the government are just not robust enough. They have to be able to go further so as to offer more people cover.
What the Experts Say
Some experts believe that the government should expand its role in healthcare. As of now, the government’s main role is regulation. However, this has meant that the private sector only focuses on profit making. In addition, the incentives that the government offers these private insurance companies are not taken up. In fact, most insurance companies avoid the very people such programs are meant to help. Experts suggest that the government sweeten the deal for insurance companies. As a result, when they comply with the incentives offered, the get better benefits.
There are those who feel that the government should also be directly involved in offering medical cover to the people. The main opposition comes from people who do not want to pay higher taxes. They feel that that is a move towards socialism, which they oppose. However, the reason for this is that they may be lacking in education. By giving them information, they may be able to see the long-term benefits of such a move. The government would be able to save up more for the economy in the end.
What Role Does the Government Play?
The main role it plays is to regulate the marketplace. It ensures that insurance companies are no colluding at the expense of the citizens. It ensures that everyone gets a fair deal and that competition determines what people have to pay.
The government also regulates the standards of the sector. It ensures that medical providers adhere to a particular code of conduct. It is enforced through fines and at times, jail sentences. It is also keen to ensure that patients receive quality medication. As a result, it has established an agency that has to approve all drugs that meet certain criteria. It also controls who can access these drugs. It is to ensure that drugs are not abused.
The role of the government in the US health sector is quite minimal. However, this role could expand significantly in the future. It will all depend on what the legislative arm of government decides.