Health Disparities Essay
The Difference in Socio-Economic Status, Leading to Health Disparities Essay
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Today, the world has turned to be a society of inequality due to the prominent gap that exists between the wealthy and the low-income earners. As noted, the gap is growing more rapidly in the current days than it was in the past few decades. The problem is mostly felt in the United States, where the issue affects almost all areas of human operations including the health sector. The paper explains the difference in Socio-economic status among individuals, leading to health disparities as well as the population that is disproportionately affected by the issue. Also, it focuses on the major health disparities across the two distinctive groups; the poor and the rich, the risk factors associated with it and the solutions to the health issue. (Health Disparities Essay)
Even though the United States is among the most developed nations, it has not managed to bridge this gap that exists between the poor and the wealthy. The difference in the socio-economic status, which results in social injustices in the health care sector, mainly affects the poor. For many years, the government of the United States has made several attempts to solve this problem but all in vain. President Barrack Obama, in his time, came up with the idea of the Obamacare program to ensure that all the Americans receive quality health care services and specifically the under-insured and the uninsured. Consequently, President Barrack Obama introduced the program to help minimize the cases of bankruptcy that arise after spending huge amounts of money in acquiring quality health care (Faria p.71). Nevertheless, the health issue has still dominated due to unavoidable disparities between the two groups of people.
Health Disparities Essay Sample
The first disparity is the ability to make personal choices of the medics to consult. In most cases, the private physicians do not work with the health insurance plans. For that reason, they only give a chance those who can pay the membership fees to book the appointments, which locks out the low-income earners. They are left with no option other than seeking treatment from the public health centers, where they do not get maximum attention. Those with emergency cases suffer more because they can rarely get fast attention to help save their lives. The major factor that determines this disparity is the shortage of doctors in the United States.
According to the study carried out in 2010, it was revealed that 25% of the total population of doctors in the United States are not American origins, which emphasizes how serious the issue (Pampel, Krueger & Denney p.366). For that reason, those who depend on the public hospitals turn to be unlucky as they rarely get the chance of receiving personal attention from the few physicians.
In 1965, an amendment was signed by President Lyndon Johnson to the Social Security Act to introduce the Medicaid and Medicare programs (Guterman et al. p.1190). The Medicaid program had the primary purpose of providing nursing home coverage and health coverage to low-income earners, including pregnant women, children and other individuals with disabilities. On the other hand, Medicare was meant for the old people, precisely at the 65 years to acquire quality healthcare without strain. The physically challenged regardless of the age were also included in this category. Over the years, these programs have been of great help to the needy. However, today the significance of the programs is limited. The programs no longer help these needy people as many private physicians decline their use, because of the declining state compensation rates. Therefore, the low-income earners are forced to travel long distances and wait much longer for the few doctors who rarely avail themselves in the public hospitals. The issue is becoming worse because the Obamacare is giving more people the chance to qualify for the Medicare and Medicaid, which will increase the suffering among the people.
Continuous researches reveal that doctors have the habit of considering the economic status of his or her patient before giving any attention. The rich people get much attention and better treatment than the low-income earners. Also, they are likely to receive the right and most effective prescriptions than in the case of the poor.
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There are high chances of not committing medical errors when attending to the wealthy patients because the medics tend to be keen. Research was conducted by a group of medicine students from the University of Pittsburgh to assess the cases of medical errors in hospitals and the major victims. First, they discovered that most medical errors are as a result of wrong prescriptions. Also, they realized that 27% of the cases consisted of the low-income and average earners, while the cases in rich patients only consisted of 16% (Braveman p.190). The researchers also found out that the rich can access the new and more advanced medical facilities that may enhance quick healing than the poor who cannot fund such facilities from their pockets or afford expensive medical covers that support such services.
Health disparity also exists between the rich and the poor because the poor cannot maintain healthy lives. The homes, working environments and education of the rich help to keep proper hygiene. Moreover, they can easily afford the preventive health care, which keeps them safe from illnesses without financial strain. The wealthy can afford the healthy drinks and foods, which the poor cannot maintain and this keeps them from nutrition associated diseases. They also afford to pay personal nutritionists who advise them on the most suitable diets to take at the required time and the kind of outdoor exercises that can help keep them fit and safe. A research held in 2011 showed that only 10% of high-income earners are obese and 25% of the poor suffering from the same. The same study showed that 17% of the children of the poor had teeth problems, while only 5% of the children from the wealthy families have the same problem (Braveman p.150).
The social injustices that the poor encounter in the health sector have various health risks. First, failure to access quality health care can increase the mortality rate, especially among children. Also, they suffer more after surgeries as they do not get adequate care, which may lead to permanent disability of further damage to body structures. The health disparity may also lowers the life expectancy of the low-income earners, because they cannot acquire quality health care on time. Also, the foods they eat do not support good health. Additionally, they get depressed due to the hardships that they face which they cannot resolve (Adler & Judith p.15).
The gap between the haves and the have-nots in the health sector exists because of the inequality in these two groups. The fact that the poor have limited chances of funding the medical facilities and acquiring insurance cover, and the rich have all that it needs to get quality health care services, brings the difference between them.
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Even though the gap between the poor and the rich in the health sector is widening as days goes, there is still the chance to resolve this problem. One of the primary causes of the disparity is inadequate physicians. Therefore, one way of solving this problem is by increasing the number of doctors in the public hospitals. Enough funds should be set aside to hire more medics as well as availing enough modern medical facilities that can be accessed by both wealthy and the have-nots. Free or affordable preventive health care and dietary advice should be availed to the poor to help them healthily and safe from nutrition related and other diseases.
The healthcare practitioners can also assist in resolving this medical disaster. Since they have a professional responsibility of appropriate allocation of resources, the can contribute to addressing the problem by avoiding any medical procedure that is unnecessary, to reduce the misuse of resources, which may expose the poor to liability, when they are in need of such facilities. Consequently, the doctors should work with society organizations to publicly address the health disparity that exists between these distinct groups. It could help to inform the health insurers as well as other medical practitioners to help fight against the problem by first acting in the most ethical way and seeing the rich and the poor as equal.
Health disparity in the United States in most cases comes as a result of the difference in the socio-economic status of the Americans, some factors that widen this gap is the ability to afford the health insurance cover and consultation of private doctors. Also, capacity to afford a healthy lifestyle is another determinant of the disparity. The health issue has various health risks among the poor, which include reduced expectancy rate, disability, and depression. The issue can be solved by hiring more doctors as well as addressing the health disparity to help resolve the problem among the health insurers and physicians.
Adler, Nancy E., and Judith Stewart. “Health disparities across the lifespan: meaning, methods, and mechanisms.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1186.1 (2010): 5-23.
Braveman, Paula A., et al. “Health disparities and health equity: the issue is justice.” American Journal of Public Health 101.S1 (2011): S149-S155.
Braveman, Paula A., et al. “Socioeconomic disparities in health in the United States: what the patterns tell us.” American journal of public health 100.S1 (2010): S186-S196.
Faria, Miguel. “ObamaCare: Another step toward corporate socialized medicine in the US.” Surgical neurology international 3 (2012): 71.
Guterman, Stuart, et al. “Innovation in Medicare and Medicaid will be central to health reform’s success.” Health Affairs 29.6 (2010): 1188-1193.
Pampel, Fred C., Patrick M. Krueger, and Justin T. Denney. “Socioeconomic disparities in health behaviors.” Annual review of sociology 36 (2010): 349-370.
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