Economic Factors Affecting Health Care Sector
The economic factors affecting health care sector are varied. In the United States and all over the world, the economy has significant impact on the interactions among health coverage, employment and costs. The economy also affects financial access and overall health outcomes. During hard economic times, few employers drop health coverage or limit employee eligibility. Oftentimes, they lower costs by altering benefits and cost-sharing allowances. While it is true that people in small firms are likely to be uninsured by the time they lose their jobs, economic recession is affecting many people across industries.
Over the years, the design of employer-sponsored coverage is changing. Today, people are finding jobs that do not have health benefits. Because of recession, patients are finding it hard to afford inpatient and elective services. In addition, institutions healthcare providers are witnessing an increase in the number of people who cannot meet the cost of their care. For now, growth and consolidation appear to be dominant trends that will continue shaping healthcare sector. However, changes in legislation could have significant impact to the entire sector.
An overview of economic factors affecting health care sector
The economic factors affecting health care sector in the world today differ from country to country even though some factors transcend regional differences. For instance, the health sector suffers from low funding. Shareholders in healthcare industry only increase funding if they are making profits. This always has far-reaching effects for everyone, including the public, patients and the staff. There is limited money from different sources like the government and the private sector. Because of this insufficient funding, hospital administrators have devised creative ways of running healthcare institutions even though they get the public unaware. In particular, they turn to layoffs, leading to long working hours for medical practitioners and reduced bed capacity.
Another economic factor that is affecting healthcare provision is the rising number of uninsured families. Today, sky-high levels of unemployment, many people no longer have company-funded cover. This is because many families are unable to bear the insurance burden on their own. For insurance companies, they do not offer services depending on the preexisting conditions because they are out to make profit. This leaves poor families and especially children vulnerable to treatable diseases and death.
Economic Factors affecting healthcare provision
Many countries, including the United States are struggling with obesity menace as it puts immense economic strain on healthcare sector. While other economic factors affecting health care sector have been around for ages, obesity has become a major concern in the 21st century. Today, one in three American children is overweight or obese yet the public is much aware of the types of foods to eat. Obesity leads to other costly and fatal diseases, like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, cancer, and stroke among others. With ever-increasing waistline, governments are spending a lot of money to treat patients suffering from lifestyle diseases.
Besides obesity threatening the economic survival of the health sector, the industry also suffers acute shortage of staff. This is directly linked to reduced funding. Presently, doctors are nurses are in short supply, resulting into heavy workload and long working hours. This affects the quality of service as patients have limited contact time with doctors. Because of the pressure and high number of patients to attend to, doctors are at a higher risk of making grave errors and putting the lives of patients in danger. Most accidental deaths happening in hospital are largely because of wrong diagnosis or incorrect dosage. Doctors and nurses have no time to double-check prescriptions because of long queues of patients.
The high cost of drugs is also undermining service delivery. While scientists have made huge strides in discovering high performing drugs to save patients, the prices are too prohibitive for the public to afford. One would say that the pharmaceutical industry is greedy and doing everything to exploit the public through inflated cost of drugs. Because of this, Medicare and Medicaid systems are suffering with some doctors not prescribing drugs that are pricey for patients. Other economic factors affecting health care sector include income levels and technology. All these factors are playing a role in shaping healthcare industry trends.
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