The 28th amendment of the constitution clearly states that "every US citizen has a fundamental right to access health care." However, only the rich and upper class society seem to have the benefit of accessing valuable health care: these problems are due to lack of adequate regulation of ethical concerns in the heath-care system. According to Cannon (2008), the current system of health care is indeed very expensive and unaffordable, costing more than nine hundred billion dollars each year and consuming 15 percent of the country's GDP. The gap between good healthcare and every citizen's financial capacity to access it clearly shows that healthcare is not adequately regulated and needs massive reforms.
The government has been unable to reform the heath care system and has only come up with temporary solutions, for example, the 2004 Tax Act clearly shows that issues of ethical concern are not seriously being addressed; the act gave employers incentives to buy heath policies for their workers since they would get interim relief in return. This caused the health care costs to increase dramatically and also took away the employees ability to set their own heath care plans (Corrine, 2008). This Act not only turned heath care from a right to a privilege but also caused the whole system to favor the wealthy with the introduction of 1st dollar coverage to cater for all medical expenses. The right to heath care ceased to exist after the government failed to recognize the two growing sections of the US population: the poor and the elderly. No attempt was made to finance the proposed health insurance program or the medical trust fund program for these groups which could have easily come from marginal tax payroll.
The US court system is also proof that health care ethics lack adequate regulation and assessment. The US court system which is supposed to uphold the law and bring fairness and justice has been immensely abused by unscrupulous attorneys so as to favor wealthy insurance corporations and deprive the common citizen the right to access affordable healthcare. This factor has definitely turned access to health care to become a privilege and not a right. Insurance premiums are obscenely high in the US because millions of dollars have been awarded by courts as compensation to malpractice victims (James and Dean, 2010).
Attorneys on the other hand have compounded the health care problems by filing for damages worth millions on their client's behalf so that they can get a share of the compensation. Several ways to reduce insurance requirements have been shot down, starting with the limitation of lawsuits such that patients claiming malpractice compensation will only recover the medical cost incurred and nothing more. Courts have also failed to uphold ethically binding policies, signed by both patients and physicians, which would address the current healthcare problems being faced by most citizens. Nowadays patients can file lawsuits against physicians even though both parties may have signed a legally binding policy limiting the scope of lawsuits (Rick, 2010). This has caused insurance premiums to increase drastically in order to cover law suits which has caused most citizens to be deprived if their right to good health-care.
Lack of ethical regulation in the current heath care system is evident in several reports issued by independent agencies; according to Corrine (2008), the government continues to portray the current heath care system as giving every citizen the right to health-care yet the new 2010 report issued by the US Census Department states that 50.8 million citizens of America don't have insurance; nearly half of the uninsured are between the age of nineteen and sixty two. Furthermore, insurance companies are now allowed to deny health coverage to persons who have preexisting illnesses this is very unethical. This leads to discrimination against the millions of Americans who have pre existing conditions. Congress itself carried out an investigation involving 20000 cancellation of insurance coverage by insurance companies and found that the companies involved saved millions while the people involved were left to pay their medical bill. Even after the investigation, congress failed to come up with legislation abolishing this practice called rescission. This reinforces my opinion that regulations concerning ethics in the health care industry in America lack adequate regulation and assessment.
Corrine, J. Naden (2008), Heath Care. Right or Privilege: Controversy! pp. (98-122).New York: Paperback press.
Cannon, F. Michael, (2008), Health Care and Competition: What's Holding Back Heath Care pp. (216-392).New York: Paperback Publishers.
The Final Call News Website, Retrieved September 24, 2010, from, http://www.finalcall.com /artman/ publish/article_2980.shtml
Rick Smith. (2010, September 24, 2010). Health Care Is A Privilege. Retrieved from http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/politics/social-security/1296-Health-Care-Privilege-Not-Entitlement-for-All.html
James T. Willerson, Dean J. Kereiakes, (2010, September 24, 2010). US Health Care Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/109/12/1460