In the United States, healthcare is a priority that the government supports by legislating effective healthcare policies. In addition to the policies, the government spends a lot of funds in sponsoring healthcare. However, the increasing number of the aging population poses challenge to the government. In fact, caring for this population is expensive and likely to pose challenges to the healthcare industry in the future. Crippen & Barnato (2011) argue that, it would be impossible to afford healthcare for the aging unless the government changes the practice of medicine to reduce costs in the future. Additionally, to save the industry from collapsing, it would be necessary to explicitly address the ethical dilemmas that the industry faces.
An aging population needs after-life care that is both comfortable and affordable. Ethical considerations play significant roles in addressing healthcare challenges of an aging population. The United States and other nations in the world encounter diverse ethical aspects of healthcare and health policy for their aging population. The most visible ethical issue that the government faces in addressing this issue revolves around spending. The government’s dilemma is finding the most appropriate sources of funds to take care of the elderly. According to Hayutin, Dietz, and Mitchell (2010), many people become deficient of financial security on retiring at 65. The elderly people then face financial problems because of poor monetary policies. The government needs to impose new policies that would enhance healthcare provision for the elderly. It is necessary to enact appropriate financial policies that would see increment of fund allocation.
Reliable sources argue that, the government spends more on social security and Medicaid/Medicaid to take care of old-age programs. Consequently, the government plans to increase the spending from 4.2% to 6.0%. “If costs increase as projected, spending on these two programs will double as a share of GDP and will squeeze out other federal funding priorities. Without reform the government will need to raise taxes, increase the deficit or spend less on other priorities such as schools, highways and national security” (Hayutin, Dietz, and Mitchell, 2010, p. 19).
It is evident that spending more on healthcare programs for the aging has economic impacts on other development projects such as infrastructure and education. The government is soliciting funds through borrowing. It would be expensive to repay the funds and thus, it may force the government to raise taxes in the future. Pushing this expenditure into the future is likely to strain future generations because of high taxes (Crippen & Barnato, 2011). High taxation of the future generations is a visible impact of failing to adjust policies with the changing reality of an older population. However, it would be impossible to dispense limited funds. It is ethically correct to take care of the aging as drafted in the policies. The government should just revise its policies to strike a balance between old-age programs and taxpayers.
Determining expenditures on end-of-life healthcare brings ethical dilemma into the public domain. The government is afraid that it will likely cut its spending and raise taxes. Similarly, it would be unethical to supply limited funds to sponsor end-of-life healthcare. This is because people and development are equally important. However, there is nothing unethical with spending on the elderly. The main remedy of addressing the problem is to determine the appropriate amount of resources that the working population should set aside for the aging (Crippen & Barnato, 2011).
Crippen, D., & Barnato, A. E. (2011). The ethical implications of health spending: Death and
other expensive conditions. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 39(2), 121-129.
Hayutin, A. M., Dietz, M., & Mitchell, L. (2010). New realities of an older America.
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