- Dionald B. Bombase
Economic Issues – Increasing Costs of Universal Health Care
Nations are surrounded by economic issues, health as part of economic aspect in a sense that it includes budget and financing, is becoming more of a concern rather than just provision of medical needs. As health care needs arises, the costs grew along with it.
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Nowadays, people are battered with high costs of living standards. Almost all commodities on earth have gone up and probably in the near future will continue to rise. Healthcare system in particular gives people additional burden, whereas, it should be free of charge, provided by the government of each nation. Though, it is one of the main responsibility of the nation’s authorities, each citizen is part of their own government. Therefore, people should help maintain the health system within their state through contributions, such as paying health care insurance or fees and taxes.
Health care, is a simple word, but complex in nature. It is composed of many aspects that are interconnected to each other. From education, implementation, manpower and resources. Though there are 4 major key factors, out of that four, there are two main determinants, manpower and resources, with these two present and strongly managed, the other two will follow.
In Canada, where health and well-being of people is one of the most prioritize by their government, whereas, their government gives ample amount of subsidies to maintain and improve their health services and systems. But, problems of increasing costs of health care will be a big challenge that the government of Canada and its people are facing at present and in the near future.
In this case study, the economic issues will be discussed, particularly the increasing cost of universal health care that limits the leaders of Canadian people in rendering different health services. This will tackle about the bearings of national and international policies. And the solutions and interventions that are being done globally through education and training, tax benefits and payments to caregivers, respite care, business regulations combining work and care giving, financial support and provision of pension credits for care giving.
Each possible solutions will be discussed and analysed, to better understand its implications and the positive outcomes it may lead.
II. ECONOMIC ISSUE IMPACT
Health system in Canada are affected with different issues, both national and international. Financial matters as one of the leading worry at present due to ever increasing expenses, this matter have enormous impact both local health policy of Canada and globally.
Social and economic policy can give choices to increased health care spending for conserving and improving health. In considering health bearings of public and private guidelines not directly related to health care as mechanism for promoting health and preventing or alleviating disease, the cost-effectiveness of non-health policies can also be greatly enhanced.
International and national strategy to counter the ever increasing costs of health care needs, in my opinion is to make services affordable to the masses through minimum contribution in insurances particularly in medical coverage. This idea can be used by most countries particularly by second and third world country.
In Canada, where healthcare system is an assembly of socialized health insurance plans that delivers coverage to all Canadian citizens. It is publicly subsidised and directed on a provincial or regional basis, within standard set by the federal government. Each individual are given preventive care and medical treatments from primary physicians as well as access to hospitals, dental surgery and additional medical services. Though there are certain exceptions, all citizens qualify for health coverage irrespective of medical history, personal revenue, or standard of living. Like any other country, Canada seek reforms in their health care system to sustain its splendid service among its own people. Political controversy and debate arises as they tackle budget distribution on how to give health services in a timely manner and advocating to adopt the private system which is similar that of United States of America. In contrary, there are doubts that privatization would eventually lead to inequality in the health system with only the rich being able to afford. Notwithstanding of the political debate Canada boast one of the highest life expectancy (around 80 years of age) and lowest death rates on infants compared to other industrialized countries. (canadian-healthcare.org)
Like Canada, most of the countries around the world, their government, considers private-public partnership to help ease the load of health care expenses. This matter will help the government to allocate more funds and at the same time lessen the outlays in budget of health care related problems.
III. POLICY INTERTVENTION
They are bold moves that are being done to solve arising problems of increasing health care expenditures by many nations around the world. Among these solutions are education and training, tax benefits and payments to caregivers, respite care, business regulations combining work and caregiving, financial support and provision of pension credits for care giving. These 5 key factors will help ease some matters concerning derailing health budget.
- Education and Training
Education and training are necessary to maintain professionalism and competency among people who work in the health care field. Also, these two factors will help healthcare professionals to adjust and keep in pace with the ever changing technology and challenges that are emerging in this contemporary world. Professionalism and competency can be achieved through seminars and trainings by field experts or the staffs within institutions.
According to Education As Service, training and education in healthcare industry plays important role for the successive achievement of an organisation. The industry of health care is unpredictable and it is critical for each affiliate of healthcare professionals to face each scenarios through training. It is also needed to ensure the quality of service rendered to each client, to achieve the standards each personnel must be assessed and trained to know if they suit the requirements and have the knowledge to fill in the job description. Hence, it can lessen errors in the future. (Education As Service)
I concur with the latter statement. First, not only it will help strengthen the core competency and professionalism of health care individuals but also ensure the safety of their patients due to evasion of error. Another is, with trained and knowledgeable people handling every life will help save money. Errors in medication for example, can result to further expenses, test alone to determine the cause and intensity of damage done will require a hefty amount of money. And last but not the least, there is a saying “prevention is better than cure”, in this case, healthcare people who are trained and educated in different field and situations, can teach people within their reach or community, to live a healthy lifestyle, and give them basic information and services to help alleviate and prevent sedentary and harmful way of living which can save people in their society. Thus, will lessen health care expenditures.
- Tax Benefits and payments to caregivers
Taking care of elderly or person with disability is a daunting task, yet it only give caregivers little compensation, leaving them financial unstable. Therefore, caregivers must have tax incentives and better payment, for them to keep up with their daily expenses and continue to care for their patients.
Aside from low income due to minimal salary and incentives in tax most caregivers, find themselves financial troubled in their current and later life. The economic well-being of carers is greatly lost, this includes health and leisure time and other impacts such as the employment situation, the financial situation, the caregivers’ retirement preparedness, and the over-all later life financial security of the caregivers. (NC State University)
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In my perspective, if caregivers do not have enough tax benefits and compensation, most of them will look for better opportunities in life, living their patients in great jeopardy, being forsaken. Many caregivers will seek professional advancement by changing their line of work that will give them high salary to sustain their living conditions and provide leisure for themselves and families. It will affect the family who seek help of the caregiver, one of them will sacrifice their job and time to care for their own relatives, whereas will cause income shortage in the family and most probably will cause shortage in other essential workforce, that in the future may have tremendous impact on nation’s economy as a whole.
- Respite Care
Respite care gives certain relief to family members and caregivers for some period of time in a sense that it helped them cope up with stress for a certain time while their patient is in respite care. Also Respite can help save ample amount of money of government in general.
According to Archrespite.org, respite care is one of the primary services that Alzheimer’s caregivers say the need most. In a study, they found out that if respite care delays institutionalization of a person with Alzheimer’s diseases by as little as one month, an estimated 1.12 billion U.S. dollars is saved annually. Another study goes along with the result, it delays or manage to lower down the need for nursing homes, by which a lot of money were also saved. (archrespite.org)
The above statement only concludes that respite care will play a vital role in saving money, not only by families needing caregiving service but also the government in wider perspective. If many patient, will undergo respite care instead of going directly to hospitals, home cares or Alzheimer’s unit, government will save a lot of money because hospitalization will require more manpower, medical needs and intervention that might be manage in a more simple way in respite institutions. Also, caregivers and family members will have some time to cope with the stress in dealing to a disabled or mentally challenged patient or family member.
- Business Regulations Combining Work and Care Giving
Regulation are written and implemented to assure the quality work and assurance of responsibility of delegated tasks. However, rules can also be used to ensure that family member should not be neglected, especially the old people who once work and sustain the economy of one’s country at their prime. Conversely, this rule is taken for granted by many companies and employers. To make matter worst, employees, who seek leave to do caregiving in one of their relatives or close friends are facing work problems because of uncertainty of the position that they hold in their own company, whether they will still have their job or they need to find a new one.
In accordance with the latter statement, in America there are growing population of older people that needs caregiving from their own families. People who are willing to take care of their own family members seek protection from their work in time they need to apply for leave to take care of their love ones needing assistance. Also, they want to have paid leave, because they also needed money to sustain their living while they are caring for their own relatives. According to survey 62 percent of workers aged 45 and 74 give care to their love ones, 37 percent of these people take care of their own spouses, 16 parent or parent-in-law percent, 6 percent another adult relative and the remaining 3 percent are taking care of their friend. In fact it is 74% of adults with elder duties have been in workforce in some point in their caregiving involvement. These people fears that they do not have family or medical leave and they feel pressure and distress of losing their job because they need time off for caregiving tasks. Most of them take unpaid leave to take care of their love ones and sacrifice their fortune and somewhat peace of mind whether they still have a job when they come back. (aarp.org)
In my opinion, this unfortunate scenario is not only limited on United States of America but also in many nations across the globe. In the Philippines in most cases, a family member is forced to give up work (usually women) to take care of their relatives needing assistance in daily living, sacrificing income and professional growth, because their employers lack support and there is no law to protect them from being dismissed from work when they take couple of weeks to give importance and help those people who took care of them when there were still little.
This policy lacking may cause worker shortage in the future if not given immediate attention, because eventually aging population will start to boom, and their relative will be forced to take care of them. If the government fails to outline some solutions to safeguard workers or give workers protection in case they will file leave of absence once a year or couple days in a month and give assurance that they will not be fired from work. Furthermore, government also should set rules about paid leave of absence in case a worker is in need to give care to one of their relative or love ones. If addressed properly, workers will have less worries in their mind in times they will apply for leave to take care of their own patients. Thus, can function properly when they head back to work from caregiving. Thus, same focus and level of proficiency can be shown and workers will be more dedicated to comply and give their best in their workplace. At the same time, the economy of countries will not be affected, because their people will remain in their company after caregiving responsibilities. Therefore, poverty level will not rise. Last but not the least, government can save money by giving less subsidies to home care and hospital services because elder people are greatly taken care of at home.
- Financial Support and Provision of Pension for Care Giving
Financial support and provision of pension is one of important factor in any form of job especially for people doing caregiving in their own family members. This will be a big help in financial restraints that a family caregiver is experiencing or will be experiencing, due to lack of time focusing on professional work. If enough financial provision are given to a family caregiver, he or she will have more time and focus to render his or her love to a family member need physical assistance in performing activities of daily living.
According to Janice Keefe and Pamela Fancey in their study about “Compensating Family Caregivers: An Analysis of Tax Initiatives and Pension Schemes”, tax relief, pension credits or social security benefits are called indirect financial assistance. People that can avail this either if they are the individual itself who is needing of care or the health provider, but its main aim is to give support to caregivers in monetary means. This scheme is aimed at encouraging members of the family to take care of their own relatives or shoulder more of the costs of caregiving. On economic view its main goal is to decrease or delay the institutionalisation of the persons with care needs and thereby lessening the costs to the health care system.
The idea in latter paragraph is convincing to the fact that, First and foremost if members of the family is assigned to take care of their own patients, the care that will be rendered will be more passionate and loving manner. Thus, it will ease the suffering of patients having nostalgic moment while they are needing assistance in their daily life and therefore might help patients improve or maintain their state of mind and well-being or slow down the deterioration of illness. Second it will also save the family money and avail pension and tax privileges. Lastly, it also will help government to lessen their expenses because home care is cheaper than rest homes and hospitals.
In conclusion, most countries around the world are facing challenges in their health care system. The financial challenges which is crucial, must be dealt with accordingly. It is better if each country will lower down the contributions in health insurances and Medicare so that many people, especially the poor will have a chance to avail medical services if not free of charge at much lower costs. Also with lower cost of health insurances, the government will have more funds to finance health needs of many people, because many people will pay to avail quality services in case they will need it in the future or one of their family members. Also, The 5 solutions that are laid in the table, education and training, tax benefits and payments to caregivers, respite care, business regulations combining work and care giving, financial support and provision of pension credits for care giving. These five remedies to counter inflating costs of health care services can have a direct indirect effect in the economy of a country.
canadian-healthcare.org. Canadian Health Care. Retrieved from http://www.canadian-healthcare.org/
Education As Service. Importance of Training and Education. Retrieved from http://www.educationasservice.com/past_tutorials/tutorial/261/Discuss%20about%20the%20importance%20of%20training%20and%20education-%20importance%20of%20measuring%20competencies%20and%20the
NC State University. Potential Later Life Economic Impacts Associated with Family Caregiving. Retrieved from http://ncsu.edu/ffci/publications/2011/v16-n2-2011-winter/bird-berry.php
Archrespite.org. Benefits and Cost-Saving Due to Respite. Retrieved from http://archrespite.org/docs/Cost_Fact_Sheet_11-09.pdf
Aarp.org. Keeping Up With The Times : Supporting Family Caregivers with Work Leave Policies by Lynn Feinnberg. Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/public_policy_institute/ltc/2013/fmla-insight-keeping-up-with-time-AARP-ppi-ltc.pdf
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