Health care delivery systems in the United States have seen significant changes and reforms over the years. These changes have been driven by factors such as rising healthcare costs, an aging population, advancing technology, and increasing demands for quality care. This paper will review the current types of health care delivery systems in the United States and contrast them with the reform models proposed in the readings for this topic. In particular, it will focus on the delivery of allied health care and identify an area where reform can improve the current system.
Current Types of Health Care Delivery Systems in the United States
The United States currently has a mixed health care delivery system that includes various types of providers, mechanisms of financing, and delivery settings. The three main types of health care delivery systems in the US are the private health care system, the public health care system, and the hybrid system.
The private health care system is primarily driven by profit and is dominated by private health insurance companies and for-profit health care providers. This system allows individuals to choose their health care providers and offers a wide range of services. However, it is also known for its high costs, limited access for individuals without insurance or with pre-existing conditions, and varying quality of care.
The public health care system, on the other hand, is funded and administered by the government. It includes programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs provide coverage for certain populations, such as the elderly, low-income individuals, and children. While these programs have improved access to care for vulnerable populations, they also face challenges such as rising costs, eligibility restrictions, and limited provider networks.
The hybrid health care system combines elements of both private and public systems. It includes employer-sponsored health insurance, which is the primary source of coverage for many Americans, as well as government-funded programs such as Veterans Affairs (VA) health care. This system aims to address the shortcomings of both private and public systems, but it also faces challenges such as affordability and fragmentation of care.
Reform Models or Revisions Proposed
Numerous reform models or revisions have been proposed to address the shortcomings of the current health care delivery systems in the United States. The readings for this topic highlight some of these proposed reforms, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Medicare-for-All proposal.
The ACA, also known as Obamacare, was enacted in 2010 with the aim of expanding access to health care coverage, improving quality of care, and reducing costs. Key provisions of the ACA include the establishment of health insurance marketplaces, expansion of Medicaid eligibility, and the individual mandate requiring individuals to have health insurance or pay a penalty. While the ACA has increased access to coverage for many Americans, it has also faced criticism for its complex regulations, rising premiums, and limited choice of providers.
The Medicare-for-All proposal, on the other hand, advocates for a single-payer system that would provide universal health care coverage to all Americans. Under this proposal, the government would be the sole payer for health care services, eliminating the need for private health insurance. Proponents argue that this system would simplify administrative processes, reduce costs, and ensure universal access to care. However, critics raise concerns about the feasibility and affordability of such a system.
Improving the Delivery of Allied Health Care
One area where reform to the current health care delivery system could improve the delivery of allied health care is in the integration of primary care and allied health professionals. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, there is a shortage of primary care providers in the United States, and this shortage is projected to worsen in the coming years. Allied health professionals, such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists, have the potential to fill this gap by providing primary care services and working collaboratively with physicians.
Reform should focus on expanding the scope of practice and autonomy for allied health professionals, allowing them to practice to the full extent of their education and training. This could include granting them the authority to perform certain procedures, prescribe medications, and make independent decisions within their scope of practice. Additionally, reform should also address barriers such as reimbursement policies and regulations that limit allied health professionals’ ability to practice to the full extent of their capabilities.
In conclusion, the current types of health care delivery systems in the United States include the private health care system, the public health care system, and the hybrid system. Proposed reforms to the current system include the Affordable Care Act and the Medicare-for-All proposal. Reforming the delivery of allied health care by expanding the scope of practice and autonomy for allied health professionals could help address the shortage of primary care providers and improve access to quality care.