Healthcare System in the US Healthcare and Environment Questions
- Describe how the nations of the world differ in important indicators of health and illness.
- Summarize the problems associated with the model of private insurance that characterizes the Healthcare System in the US. Include in the discussion the impact of being uninsured.
- Describe how the fee-for-service (or Direct-Fee) healthcare system contributes to the high cost of healthcare in the United States.
- Outline how a switch to a national (single payer) system of healthcare could improve the quality of health and healthcare.
- Describe and discuss the importance of preventative care. Why would preventative care be neglected in the current Healthcare System in the US?
- Outline two reasons that make the environment an appropriate topic for sociologists to study. What is environmental sociology?
- Describe what is meant by the assertion that environmental problems are human problems.
- Explain the concepts of environmental inequality and environmental racism.
- Detail two of the environmental problems (other than climate change) facing the world today.
- Describe the cause and impact of climate change. Include a discussion of climate changes impact on oceans.
Healthcare System in the US: Important indicators of health and illness
There is a dramatic disparity in health and healthcare quality among the various countries in the world, with the most impoverished nations suffering terribly. This is evident based on inadequate healthcare, rampant diseases, poor sanitation, poor nutrition, and unsafe water.
One of the more common diseases in less developed countries that in the developed world is HIV/AIDS, which affected over 34 million people globally, with two-thirds of this population being based in Sub-Saharan Africa. The world health organization reports that two million people in this region in the year 2010.
The health problems cause maternal mortality, high death, and infant mortality rates, which is the most significant cause of the short lifespan in the less developed countries relative to the developed world. The indicators for health and illness concerning the income category can be grouped as low-income, lower-middle-income, higher-middle income, and high-income countries.
Infant mortality is the number of children who die before their first birthday per a thousand live births, which stands at seventy in the less developed countries, about 7 percent of the live births (Austin et al., 2021). Another indicator of health across countries is the average life expectancy across the various countries globally, something that can be attributed to the level of sanitation. This figure is at 75 years and above in developed countries, which is significantly higher than 50 years, which is common in the less developed countries.
The model of private insurance that characterizes the Healthcare System in the US
The United States is the only industrial country that does not provide its citizen with national health insurance and a form of national healthcare. This is unlike other industrial countries such as Denmark, whereby the government offers free hospitalization and medical care to the entire population.
Such a Healthcare System in the US may not be perfect in meeting its intended objectives, but it can end up healthier relative to the United States. Despite this, United States spends more per capita on healthcare and generally ranks lower based on the healthcare indicators. The incorporation of capitalism in the American healthcare system makes medicine a big business.
Private health insurance makes the Healthcare System in the US rely on the direct-fee system for individuals aged 65 years and under, while Medicare covers those aged 65. The patients are expected to pay for their healthcare private health insurance and cover their medical costs by themselves.
Fifty-four percent of the population in the United States has private insurance through their resources or their employers (Aron-Dine et al., 2020). On the other hand, 29 percent of the population has private insurance in Medicare and Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population is uninsured and thus are more likely to be diagnosed with more advanced cancer stages as they are less likely to receive cancer screening.
The high cost of healthcare in the United States
The United States spends about $7960 in 2009, which is more money on healthcare per capita than many industrial countries in the world. This is 50 percent higher in various countries such as Switzerland and Norway. One of the causes of the high cost of healthcare is the administrative cost due to incorporating private insurance, record-keeping tasks, and billing. Another cause is the fee-for-service model for private insurance, whereby healthcare professionals, hospitals, and physicians.
Government regulation in other industrialized countries keeps the prices lower, unlike the United States, where the healthcare providers and healthcare insurance companies are allowed to change the charges. This is the fundamental difference between the United States and other developed countries, where the healthcare providers, in this case, the physicians, are paid per service performed.
This is something that incentivizes them to make more diagnostic tests that would be necessary, where the maximization of the available resources is a priority (Robertson et al., 2020). This is evident in comparing the United States and Canada, where the average cost of appendectomy is $13,123 while the same procedure costs $3810 in Canada.
A hip replacement costs $34,354 in the United States, and the same procedure costs $10,753 in Canada. Childbirth and bypass surgery cost $8,435 and $59,770 respectively in the United States, which is dramatically higher than Canada’s same procedures, which cost $2,667 and $22,212 respectively in Canada.
National (single-payer) Healthcare System in the US
A single-payer system of healthcare, also known as a single player system, is a Healthcare System in the US where a government entity is an administrator whose role involves the payment of healthcare costs and the collection of healthcare fees. In such a case, the medical services are not publicly provided but are publicly financed, like Sweden, Denmark, and Canada.
Such a system would be advantageous in improving the quality of health and healthcare in the United States by providing universal, comprehensive, and accessible healthcare services. The government would have the responsibility to organize, deliver, and finance healthcare services. This would be more affordable to the patients as there is no cost-sharing for the medical procedures and the prescription drugs.
Healthcare costs are controlled through a single-player, which would facilitate the restriction of resources and the investment in technology and capital (Blahous, 2018). A single-player gives the citizenry with healthcare, which involves a low administrative cost, whereby the physicians are paid in full and promptly. Healthcare quality is the degree that the healthcare services whereby the population and individuals increase the likelihood to increase the healthcare outcomes consistently professional knowledge. It refers to rehabilitative, therapeutic, preventative, chronic, and acute care in the different healthcare systems.
Preventative care prevents illness, injury, and disease instead of treating the condition after it becomes acute. It, therefore, facilitates the detection of the medical problem before it exacerbates. It is the most impactful step of healthcare, being the top risk factor for premature deaths and illness, making the decision to live a healthy lifestyle easier with medical procedures. The healthcare providers provide a physical examination, making the family members have the problems. Chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes can be detected early on, thus facilitate the improvement of the individual’s quality of life.
The healthcare providers help the individual control the medical condition, thus reducing the chances for disease while reducing the cost of healthcare (Primm et al., 2019). It, therefore, improves the efficiency and productivity of the healthcare system, thus facilitating the overall improvement of the quality of life. Given the essence of preventative care in improving the overall quality of life, it is interesting that it is neglected in the United States.
However, the government spends more on healthcare per capita. This would be due to the incorporation of capitalism in the Healthcare System in the US, whereby the pursuit of profit does incentivize the prevention of illnesses. All players in the healthcare system are incentivized to increase the cost of healthcare, something that is opposed to the effect of preventative care on the cost of healthcare.
In addition to being a physical and natural topic and of interest to oceanographers, meteorologists, and geologists, the environment is a sociological topic. This can be attributed to the mutual causality between environmental degradation and the quality of life of human beings. The environment is affected by population growth, as the most adverse environmental problems are caused by human activities relating to human behavior sexual, criminal, and racial behavior is harming the environment.
Human activities through industrialization lead to environmental degradation, global warming, and the acidification of the oceans. The human activities caused by overpopulation lead to deforestation, overexploitation, pollution, and deforestation. Therefore, humanity impacts the environment through resources utilization and affluence through the carbon footprint. Human civilization leads to the loss of most plants and animals (Bohr & Dunlap, 2018).
On the other hand, environmental problems cause human problems. Natural disasters and ground, air, and water pollution have a sociological impact on people’s quality of life. The environment affects human life and causes human mortality through increased cancer, asthma, heart disease risk. Poor sanitation leads to unsafe drinking water. This is the basis of environmental sociology, which is studying the interaction between society and the natural environment, which leads to public awareness.
The assertion that environmental problems are human problems
The environment has an impact on human activities, thus making the environmental problem a human problem. Additionally, environmental issues impact human activities in the biophysical environment. Therefore, environmental protection involves the fortification of the environment at the organizational and governmental levels, thus benefiting both humans and the environment.
Therefore, there is a relationship between the natural environment and people, something that facilitates the garnering of attention of people on the physical world, thus maximizing the time required to be sustained in a given geographical location (Boudh & Singh, 2019). Climate change is a controversial issue, due to its correlation with human activities, with some people suggesting that human activities solely cause climate change.
In contrast, others suggest that climate change is a naturally occurring phenomenon. However, it is important to note that a correlation between the climate and the environment has a significant social impact. In addition, these environmental and economic policies with potential implications on political and social factors. Therefore, humans are responsible for the world’s environmental problems and can resolve environmental problems to ensure that the quality of life continues to improve as people as economic prosperity occurs.
The concepts of environmental inequality and environmental racism
Environmental inequality, also known as environmental racism, involves the fact that low-income earners and people of color are disproportionally affected by environmental problems. Environmental justice is the study of environmental inequality to reduce racism and inequality. Racism discrimination in making environmental policy facilitates the exploitation of toxic and is thus life threatening to the less privileged a demographic that often comprises the people of color.
This is something that organizations carry out in their pursuit of profits, led by the ruling class, who are often White. By this virtue, the issue of climate change is, therefore, a race-based problem. Environmental racism is consequently caused by the lack of affordable, political power, mobility, and poverty among people of color.
This was evident in the 1990s with the systematic placement of chemical plans, landfills, and toxic waste sites in areas that low-income Americans predominantly populated, often African Americans (Ryder, 2017). Therefore, it is clear that people of color are more likely to be affected by environmental issues and are more likely to affect people of color than white people.
The environmental problems facing the world today
One of the most impactful environmental problems is air pollution, which causes between ten and sixty thousand death annually in the United States. The deaths resulting from health conditions result from lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory-related diseases such as heart disease. This is more common in industrial nations such as India and China, where sulfates, nitrates, and carbon cause air pollution.
Additionally, it is also clear that between fifteen and fifty percent more people die in such cities than in clean cities in Europe (Agarwal et al., 2018). Additionally, air pollution is more likely to affect children than it does adults.
One of the major causes of air pollution is fossil fuel leading to the greenhouse effect whereby gases are trapped in the air making the earth warmer. Water pollution is another environmental problem that affects water quality due to poor sanitation. Human waste in developing nations is affected by the discharge of industrial waste into the water. Therefore, it is estimated that 2.5 million people die of diarrhea, half a million of malaria, and eight hundred thousand of malnutrition due to water pollution.
Cause and impact of climate change
Global climate change, also known as global warming, is caused by the trapping of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, thus leading to a 1-degree rise in global temperature over the past one hundred years. Therefore, climate change threatens the production of a host of health problems leading to a decline in agricultural production, even as the global population increases.
Human conflict is one of the causes of global warming due to the pollution caused by the military-industrial complex. As an economic consequence, land value declines, as the land is less likely to continue producing and thus leads to a decline in the quality of life (Hess et al., 2018). In addition to this, global warming affects the oceans by leading to the rise in ocean levels and the overheating of coral reefs.
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