Current Health and Health Care Issues
Health care is provided by many distinctive organizations in the United States. Health care sectors are mainly operated by government and private sectors. In the United States 62 % health care units are non-profit, 18% are for profit and 20% are government owned. In 1990, the life expectancy of the United States was 75.2 years. According to the studies of National Institute of Health in 2013, the United States has the highest prevalence of infant mortality, sexually transmitted diseases, heart and lung disease, injuries, adolescent pregnancies, disability and homicides among 17 high-income countries (Health Care Problems, 2014).
Currently, healthcare is one of the top economic and social problems that America is facing. The increasing costs of health insurance and medical care are impacting the lives of American citizens in different ways. In 2012, nearly 46% of Americans ages from 19 to 64 did not have health insurance for the full year because of health insurance expenses. The expenses for health insurance increased by 30% from 2001 to 2005, whereas income for the same period increased by 3%. Thus, people started to avoid health insurance expenses. Many Americans have health insurance, but they must struggle to pay their health care bills as a result of rising premiums. The statics of Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey in 2012 shows that the number of adults who were underinsured was raised from16 million to 30 million from 2003 to 2012. As a result, people in the lowest income levels were affected the most. Research shows that the lowest income level people often do not visit doctors, do not undergo preventive checkups and lab tests and do not fill perceptions as it is hard for them to cover medical bill expenses. Currently, 50% of personal bankruptcies in America are due to the medical expenses. Thus, health care expenses create a serious health and social issue in the United States (Health Care Problems, 2014).
Socioeconomic, Discrimination and Other Issues
According to the study of American Psychological Association (APA), Socioeconomic Status (SES) highly affects American society. It is measured by a combination of education occupation and income. SES often creates inequalities between individuals or groups of people. Low SES causes lower education, poor health and poverty. As a result, inequalities in wealth distribution, quality of life and resource distribution are increasing in the United States every year. Research shows that the low-SES communities and households develop their academic skills slowly. A child’s initial academic skills depend on home and social environments. Increasing dropout rates and inadequate education decrease children’s academic achievements (American Psychological Association, n.d.).
Most of the families from low-SES communities do not have strong financial resources. The parents also do not have time availability or enough education to teach their children. According to the study of APA, in America 36% of parents from low-SES communities teach their children on a daily basis. Thus, it creates low literacy environments and chronic stress to a definite group of society (American Psychological Association, n.d.).
On the other hand, racial discrimination is one of the major issues of the United States. Millions of Native Americans, African Americans, Latin Americans, Middle Easterners and Muslims are racially discriminated in America every day. As a result of such discrimination, some groups of people are not getting equal rights in the society and they start to find a different way of life. Racial discrimination can increase communal violence, drug addiction and depression. Moreover, the United States has religious intolerance, society morality conflicts, illegal immigration and educational ignorance issues that highly impact the society (Diversity Web, n.d.).
Mental health is an important part of healthy life as well. According to the research of APA, disabilities and other mental or emotional problems are often visible in lower SES communities. A person’s financial constraints affect emotional depressions. Thus, personal or family economic status affects a community’s mental health (Diversity Web, n.d.).
Specific Beliefs Regarding Health and Health Care
American ethnic groups have different health beliefs that explain causes of diseases and their treatment. Most of the Americans believe that the diseases are the result of natural and scientific phenomena, which need medical treatments that control microorganisms. Healthcare organizations use sophisticated technologies to treat or diagnose diseases. However, in some societies’ people believe that the disease is a result of supernatural phenomena and these groups of people promote spiritual interventions or prayer to control diseases (Ehman, 2007).
In the United States, some of the Asian and Pacific Islanders have particular views on different kinds of diseases. These groups of people use their religious skills to cure diseases. For example, in catholic religious treatment blessings and sacraments by catholic priests are important. Catholic people perform such religious rituals before surgery or whenever the patient has the risks of death. In some circumstances, if the patient is near death, then catholic people urgently call Catholic priest to offer the last rites. The priest gives blessings and prayers to the patient (Ehman, 2007).
Other Pertinent Cultural Beliefs and Issues
Some catholic people may request for Holy Communion before the surgery. In such circumstances, a catholic priest gives the patient a tiny portion of water. Medical authorities should approve this request as medically safe. Sometimes some patients want to keep religious objects, such as some symbols of God to pray, sculptors or religious medals. If the patient requests the medical authority to keep these objects with them during medical procedures, then the authority must discuss the option of keeping the object in a sealed bag near by the patient. Moreover, patients cannot keep metal objects with them during these procedures. Metal objects can create problems in radiological procedure, such as MRI scan (Ehman, 2007).
Sometimes patients and medical authorities may have moral dilemmas as a result of religious interruptions. For example, some families may insist on the medical authorities not to do surgeries in religious holidays. In such situations, the patient may face serious health troubles. Usually, patients need healthy diet during their illness. Some special food including meat, fish and vegetables may improve patient’s health. However, some catholic patients may ask to have vegetarian diets 40 days before the Easter festival. These religious beliefs and rituals may create problems to the medical practitioners and patients (Ehman, 2007).
Recommendation for Health Care Organization
It is possible to improve lifestyles of American people by improving health care organization systems. In recent times, Americans scientists have done various researches to cure serious diseases and illness. However, too many people cannot have these medical preventive services as they are quite expensive. Anyway, if healthcare organizations make some health care reformations plans, then the American health care organizations can improve the lives of Americans. These plans may include protecting children from social or public health issues, lowering the cost of health insurance policies and special research to defeat cancer and other diseases (Feinstein, n.d.).
Protecting Children and Adults from Social Health Issues
Currently, some American organizations and NGOs work to protect the children from different chemicals and different dangerous products. Senator Feinstein has worked hard to remove endocrine disrupting chemical Bisphenol (BPA) from medical products. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had recently banned the use of BPA in the baby bottle, infant containers and sippy cups. Senator Feinstein has introduced a new food packaging rights act. According to this right, food packaging containers should have BPA cleared labels (Feinstein, n.d.).
Government authorities should promote the health risks of smoking cigarettes and secondhand smoke issues. Currently, federal government has taken several steps to control smoking. In 2009, the American legislative law allowed FDA to regulate tobacco products. These steps may help the society to get relief from different social health issues (Feinstein, n.d.).
Lowering the Cost of Health Insurance Policies
Currently, thousands of Americans live without medical insurance as it is too much expensive for some groups of people. According to a current study, the rising health premiums and increasing insurance company profits are negatively affecting the people of California and other American states. Thus, it is important to decrease the cost of health insurance policies, so that common people can afford these services (Feinstein, n.d.).
Specific Research to Defeat Cancer and Other Diseases
Government authorities introduce disease awareness programs in the society. Medical service providers should raise disease awareness policies. These policies should try to improve the treatment of different severe diseases including cancer. Federal organizations should fund medical research programs to find the reasons of various diseases. Different social awareness programs can help people to understand the effects of different disease. For example, in 1997, federal government introduced Breast Cancer Research Stamp. This stamp has helped the research organizations to raise $75 million for breast cancer research and treatment (Feinstein, n.d.).
The above analysis leads to the conclusion that healthcare is an import field that improves people’s lives. However, currently health is one of the main social and economic problems of America. The rising costs of healthcare service and insurance policies have impacted the lives of common American citizens. Some people of different ethnic backgrounds are also troubled by socioeconomic and racial discrimination issues. These groups of people are often away from medical care services. Moreover, healthcare employees face difficulties with some patients, who have particular religious beliefs. Nevertheless, it is possible to improve the lives of American people by improving healthcare rules and regulations, such as protecting people from health issues, controlling the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products and lowering the cost of health insurance. Thus, it is possible to improve the lives of American people.