Public Health


Healthcare quality and accessibility is one of the most debated topics in American society–what should be available, who should pay for what and is healthcare a right?  Healthcare in the U.S. costs 2-3 times more than in every other wealthy country.  Yet, for spending this much, we do not rank as the #1 best healthcare in the world, or #2.  According to the World Health Organization, we are not even in the top 10.

Youve learned that often there is a tradeoff between healthcare quality, accessability and cost–as one improves, the other two often get worse.  However, that doesn’t always seem to be the case–there are some countries that have been able to provide high quality care to most of their citizens at a reasonable cost.

For this assignment, you will use the concepts youve learned to analyze the U.S. healthcare systems and to create a plan for lowering costs, while at the same time improving quality and access.


NOTE: This last assignment will require more creativity and higher-level thinking than the previous assignments.  As such, the directions will be shorter and less prescriptive–to allow you this flexibility.

Firstreview the lectures on the tradeoff between cost/access/quality, recent healthcare trends, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Secondthe outcome of this assignment will be your plan to lower healthcare costs, while at the same time increasing quality and access.  The plan will include specific suggestions for how this could be done and your explanation for why you think each suggestion would help.

Here are some issues to consider when thinking through your plan:

Why does healthcare cost more in the U.S. compared to every other country?  Consider things such as: the structure of our system, for-profit organizations, amount of healthcare we use, salaries of healthcare workers, drug costs, long-term care costs, administrative overhead, costs for tests, multi-level payment systems, etc.
What can we learn from other countries that have lower costs and good quality and access?
How are recent healthcare trends affecting costs, quality and access?  Which trends will we need to counteract?  Which ones can we take advantage of? And, how could we do this?

Additional Guidelines and Advice
Most of the paper will be written in paragraph form, but you can include bulleted lists or tables if you find it useful for explaining certain parts.
Students always ask: how many pages?  It will not be graded by length.  However, I doubt you could do a thorough job addressing these big issues in less than two pages.
You are encouraged to do some additional reading to expand your thinking.  You MUST reference any outside reading from which you got ideas.  (NONE OF THE PAPER SHOULD BE COPIED FROM ELSEWHERE.  ALL OF THE WRITING MUST BE YOUR OWN WORDS.  NO QUOTING OF OTHER’S WORK.  ANY COPYING WILL SEVERELY HURT YOUR GRADE).
Saying that “the government will pay for XYZ” is not a solution.  Remember we are already “paying” too much–just switching from having individuals or employers or government pay a different percentage of the cost is not a solution.
I am looking for “real life” solutions–not wishful thinking.  For example, we can’t simply tell hospitals to be more efficient and magically, expect big cost savings (most hospitals are already trying to be efficient).  It’s OK if your suggestions will take a long time to show an effect–sometimes lasting improvements do.  It’s also OK to change laws or policies to have improvement–again, sometimes these sort of changes are necessary.  Just make sure it is realistic–voters will resist if you try too hard to force them or take too much of their free will away.
Please support your ideas with logically reasoning as to why you think they will help and/or examples illustrating how it would work.
A useful way to organize your thinking is to group your ideas in steps.  For instance:
First, XYZ is a problem…  I think one possible solution would be…  This should work because…  For example…
Second, ABC is also a concern…  I think one possible solution would be… etc.

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