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Characteristics of the U.S. Health Care System

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Both health care delivery and health services refer to the act of providing health care services to the affected citizens. The United States being one of the developed countries has a unique system, whereby they have national health insurance programs chaired by the government and financed by the general taxes collected.  Each citizen to receive health care services what is referred to as the universal access but not routine basic health care services. On the other hand though the county has evolved in terms of cost it has not been able to provide these services at an affordable cost.

External factors such as political climate, level of economic development, technological advances, social cultural values, physical environment, demographic factors, and the shape which the health has been taking for the last previous years.

Characteristics of the U.S. health care system

  • No central governing agency and little integration and coordination

The U.S. system lack centrally controlled having variety of payments, insurance, and delivery of health care is financed both privately which predominantly hold much of the country employment with the larger percentage of 55% leaving the rest 45% to the public.

  • Technology-driven delivery system focusing an acute care

Growth of science and technology make patients assume that the best has best care and the p Factors which have served to shape the U.S. Health Care System physicians want to try the latest gadgets. Also hospitals compete for the latest modern equipment which are more expensive and consequently lead to high cost in providing the health care services. Workers lack over time extension on insurance, forcing the insurance companies to lower their premiums. Due to the limited resources to invest in the health sectors before investing in high technology should be evaluated. The investment should be done in both low and high technological medicine.

  • High cost, unequal in access, average in outcome.

More than any  developed country U.S. spend so much on health care ( 13%) of the nation’s gross domestic products but population do not get access to the health care services. One has to have health insurance through their employers, covered by under a government health care program, can afford to buy insurance with their finances, and is able to pay their bills privately. If one is not able to meet any of the above conditions waits until the condition gets worse where one can get treatment free in hospital emergency department.

  • Delivery of health care under imperfect market condition

In the United States provision of health care services do not meet basis of a free market where buyers (patients) and sellers (providers) act independently. Patients should be able to choose their providers based on the quality of the services they offer. There must be also competition in the provision of the health services but since the power of health sector is the hands of the private hands they try to maximize profits rather than the provision of the good health care services. Patients should be aware of the costs which will be incurred in their  treatment ahead of time, if this is not disclosed patients are not aware of the costs to be incurred  leading to poor budgeting.

  • Legal risks influence practice behaviors

In the United States unlike other developed countries’ health care services are dominated private sectors. This reliance of individual of individual limits the power to the national government and the only role left to it is just filling the gaps which have been left by the private investors. This could be issues such as environmental protections care for the poor citizens, support in training and research.

  • Market justice vs. Social justice: conflict throughout health care

Market justice places the responsibility for the fair distribution of health care on the market forces in a free economy where medical care is provided on willingness and the ability to pay by the people. On the other hand, social justice is concern with the well-being of the society other than that of individual hence failure to get treatment for lack of resources is unjust.   Distribution of the resources should always be based on the need other than the ability to buy them in the market. Market justice consequently should be based to unequal allocation of the health care services, leaving out the critical humans.

  • Multiple players and balances of power

In the many players; physicians, administrators of health, service institutions, insurance, large companies, large employers and the government. Among all these players each has got its own self-interests which are often not in line bringing conflict in the system. Its only advantage is that these players protect any of the above to dominate the system.

  • Quest for integration and accountability

Today, in the United States there has been the call for organizing the switch to continuous and coordinated health services which review the patient-provider relationship and how health of each individual can be improved strengthening the entire population. It have gained its popularity through the expansion of well managed care but slowed down before reaching its full purpose.


As some of the characteristics of the health care services in the United States, has led to the system being unsuitable to some citizens and some making the system look bearable to even the less fortunate citizens.  In comparison to other developed countries, the United States is lagging behind since it has been left to the hands of private sectors that are most centered in maximizing of profits other than provision of better and affordable services.

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