Frontline: Sick Around the World Essay

Health care has been a debatable topic for many years now. More than half of Americas are without health coverage. On the other side the world places like Germany and Japan required that everyone has insurance. In the videos, Sick Around the World and Sick Around America, Frontline examines the health care system in the United States and parts of the world such as, England, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and Switzerland, for some responses about health care. In the video Sick Around the World, Frontline travel to Britain, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and Switzerland to investigate their health care system.

In Britain, there is no insurance premium or no copayments and the system covers everybody. In Japan, everybody has to sign up for a health insurance policy and the government picks up the tab for those who are too poor. In Germany, health insurance continues with no change if you lose your job and prescriptions are covered with a very, very small co-pay.

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In Taiwan, the administrative cost is very low. In Switzerland, those not covered are automatically assigned to a company and the government provides assistance to those who can’t afford the premiums. While on the other hand in America, the health care system is nothing like Britain, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and Switzerland. The biggest problems with the current health care system in the United States is cost and affordability and medical underwriting. The cost of health care is expensive and not affordable for everybody. “The United States spent approximately $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, or $7,421 per person – nearly twice the average of other developed nations. Americans spend more on health care than on housing or food. If rapid health cost growth persists, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2025, one out of every four dollars in our national economy will be tied up in the health system” ( The cost of premiums can run between $400 to $1000. Deferring care because of the stress of medical bills leads to higher health care costs for everyone.

One out of three uninsured American reported that they have difficulties paying medical bills. That is why they don’t seek medical care they need until the very last minute. But when a person who is uninsured is in emergency and is unable to pay, that burden falls upon the insured Americans, the government, the hospitals and the doctors. I think it is a problem because that is when billions of dollars of uncompensated care increase health insurance premiums for everyone. Medical underwriting is the process insurers use to determine if the applicant is approve or denied for health insurance. Some insurance companies will take steps to avoid an applicant that is already sick. An insurer can decide to deny an applicant found to be too expensive. Health conditions such as heart disease, eating disorders, lupus, and even acne. Ironically, people with those conditions needs health insurance more than anything. I think it is a problem because it people with condition denied for health insurance died from the condition. An example would be Nikki, from the video Sick Around America, who passed away.

I believe there is a solution to these problems with the current health care system in the United States. To decrease the cost of health care, I believe America should pay doctors, physician, and surgeons less. Paying them less will provide more money to help those that are uninsured. Even though they will get paid less, they will get more business because of more people are getting insured. To stop the way of medical underwriting, just provide universal health care. Just like everyone is required to get car insurance, everyone is required to get health insurance. Provide basic health care for people with low income and people that could afford add features to their coverage. In March 23, 2010, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is to provide affordable health care to Americans.

One component of the PPACA is to provide insurance to low and middle income Americans by providing discounts on state or federal run health insurance exchanges. Many American will see a drop to their premiums. About 40 million without insurance will have access to coverage through exchanges, Medicare or Medicaid. Middle income Americans and employees will be able to use tax credits and subsidies on the exchanges to save up to 60 percent of the existing cost of premiums which make insurance affordable to up to 23 million Americans. Another component of the PPACA, it promotes public health and prevention of chronic disease. American families will have control of their own health decisions with nutrition and prevention information based.

It provides for funds in prevention, public health, disease research, and screening. Small businesses will develop a workplace wellness programs to promote better health for the employees. Local and state governments progress policies to prevent the onset of chronic diseases, obesity, and tobacco use. Another component of the PPACA, the role of public programs. The cost of prescription drug will reduce. Medicaid will be eligible to more American. Starting 2014, all low-income, non-elderly and non-disabled individuals will be eligible for Medicaid. To people with long-term care needs, states will be allowed to provide home and community-based services and full Medicaid benefits.

With the rate of the way of health reform is going America has a chance of have good health coverage. Every plan has it pros and cons but it time for America to stop talking about changing the health care system and do something about it. I am one of the many American without health insurance. I do not want to be one of the many American that wait last minute to seek medical help and it is too late. American is one of the most industrialized country. Let’s act like we are.

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