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Health Resource and Policy Analysis Questions

Provide outlines for the following:

1. The most recent data available for U.S. health care expenditures is for the year 2008. Where did our U.S. health care dollars go in 2008? What have you found about national health expenditures in 2008? How do you expect this distribution of health care spending to change over the decade ahead?

2. Health insurance is a concept developed in the United States and now appearing in many other nations of the world. Its history and development is an interesting story. Briefly trace the history of health insurance in America, from the beginnings with Blue Cross up to the Managed Care era.

3. Professional workforce shortages currently being experienced in hospitals and clinics across our nation are partly related to insufficient production of qualified personnel. That is the supply side of our medical manpower challenges. There are factors at play that significantly influence the demand for health care as well. Cite these key factors, and briefly describe how each factor influences the demand for medical professionals.

4. How do you feel about the rapid growth in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) across America? Is CAM good for American health, or is it a colossal waste of money and a danger to patients?

Solution Preview

The attached document is not intended as an assignment completion. Discussion points, examples, and references are provided for each of the questions.

1. In 2008, much of the money spent on health care went toward hospital care, diagnostics and other professional services, including physician and clinic provided care. The next highest expenditures are related to retail sales of medical products. Expenditures on nursing care in facilities, on durable medical equipment, prescription drugs, and home care are relatively low when compared to overall expenditures (Center for Medicaid and Medicare Expenses, 2014). Expenditures on preventive care are relatively low. However, the percentage of money spent on prescription care and diagnostics increased at a much lower rate than previous years.
With an increasing aging population, I would expect health care spending to increase on nursing care provided in facilities and at home, as the aging population becomes older and more seniors begin to seek care for routine health issues. I would also expect expenditures on prescription medications and home medical devices to increase, as many aging adults make the decision to stay in their homes longer. A greater focus on public health expenditures and community health, which has been increasing over the past decade, is likely to result in educating health care consumers on the benefits of preventive care. In turn, expenditures on hospital care should decrease. Medicare has recently adopted a policy aimed toward reducing hospital readmissions, which should also contribute to reduced expenditures in hospital care. "Readmission rates are generally higher for hospitals serving vulnerable populations" (Health Affairs, 2013). The focus on follow up care at home after discharge and on public health education and prevention efforts, should contribute toward fewer hospital stays and readmissions.

Center for Medicaid and Medicare Expenses (2014). Retrieved September 15, 2014 from ...

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