three major issues affecting healthcare

1. Direct Advertisement and the Expiration of Patents –

The United States and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that allow direct marketing of pharmaceuticals. As a result, people often demand unnecessary treatment which drives up costs and reduces the overall quality of care. Additionally, the increased prevalence of pharmaceuticals has not been correlated with an increase in overall health; rather it perpetuates the “sickness care system” and promotes reactive instead of preventative care which has been shown to reduced costs. The expiration of patents will only increase the prevalence of marketing as companies seek out a way to maintain profit levels.

Marketing rules are changing for the advertisement to children and of harmful activities such as cigarette smoking. This change may result in changes to other advertising regulations.   Additionally, it is likely that as access to preventative care increases, people will become less dependent of pharmaceuticals and take more responsibility for their health. The rise in the prevalence of alternative care providers also threatens the success of direct marketing as people become distrustful of allopathic medicine.

2. Fragmentation and Bureaucracy –

When the American Medical Association was established in the early part of the 20th century, it was with good intentions. However, its long-standing monopoly over the healthcare system has resulted in a reduction in access of care, excessive influence of/ties with the political community, and an overwhelming dominance over the healthcare industry by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Streamlining the system would undoubtedly reduce waste and abuse, by patients, special interests and physicians. Linking the different sectors could also improve care by enabling providers to work collaboratively.

3. Lobbyists

It is an undeniable fact that money plays a huge role in politics. As a result, companies that have the financial means to ‘support’ political candidates who will make legislative actions that promote their donors best interests. The average Jane doesn’t have the means to do the same. As a result, Jane is often forgotten, inadvertently or not, by our representatives. The long-term effects include decreased quality of life and disenchantment with the broken system which only decreases the likelihood the system will work towards the interests of the common individual.

This solution is the least likely to occur because it has been tried before without success and recent legislation has been passed that has expanded the power of lobbyists. Additionally, congressional members are unlikely to support any bills that would reduce the perks they receive. However, it can be argued that this would be the most effective because it would allow politics to address actual issues, rather than special interests.

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