Healthcare- A Sick Business in America


United States is known to be one of the most powerful countries all over the world. Despite this profile for this developed nation, it is reputed to have one of the worst healthcare systems. The healthcare system is full of unethical practices done by nurses, doctors, and executives among others. A look at the healthcare system in the United States shows that the health practitioners are more concerned about money and not the general healthcare of the patients. (Black, 2005)

Ethics is defined as the norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about the conduct of the personnel in any organization and in this case the conduct of the doctors in relation with their patients. The goal of medical ethics is to ensure the safety of the patients is guaranteed to avoid suffering the consequences from the unscrupulous medical practices.   This paper is dealing with the ethics or the management of healthcare industry in America.

In the United States, health disparities are well acknowledged in minority populations including the African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics, compared to whites. These minority groups have higher incidences of chronic diseases, higher mortality, and poorer health outcomes. Among the diseases-specific examples of racial and ethnic disparities in the United States is the cancer incidence rate among African Americans, which is higher as compared to the whites, which is attributed to lack of funds to get medicines.

Medical ethics deals with study of judgments and moral values as they are related to the medical field. In medical ethics, there are various expectations on medical practitioners, that is, nurses, executives doctors among other people. This can be traced back to the various guidelines on physician’s duty. The following are some of the important values in relation to medical ethics.

Dignity- every patient and the doctor has a right to dignity

Justice- this is in relation to the distribution of health resources that are scarce and in    relation to who is gets a specific treatment.

Non-maleficence-involves doing no harm

Autonomy- the right of the patient choosing or refusing a form of treatment

Beneficence- Involves action of a medical practitioner done to the patient’s best interest

Honesty and truthfulness- this is whereby a person has an informed consent

All these are important aspects in the healthcare industry and they actually provide a framework that is useful in understanding the various conflicts in this industry. Looking at the healthcare industry in America, there are various unethical practices in line with the values indicated above. (Blevins, 1995)


One of the areas as to where there has been unethical practice among the doctors in United States is in line with confidentiality. Many doctors in the United States lack the value of confidentiality any more. Research carried out in the year 2006 in the United States among patients shows that this value has greatly declined among medical practitioners. It is obvious that when patients are examined by doctors they give very confidential information concerning their health.

It has been noted that doctors in United States no longer keep the patient’s information confidential. Doctors are sharing such information with family members and also colleagues at work. It has been noted that such confidential information is shared with the patient’s relatives in case doctors know them. This has caused problems for the patients in relation to how they are viewed in the society. This principle of confidentiality has greatly declined amongst doctors in United States.


Looking at the healthcare in United States reveals that the doctors are simply after money. This is especially in private doctors in United States. For instance research carried out among many private doctors in United States shows that when patients (expectant women) go for clinics, doctors actually feign that the women have complications and so they cannot have normal delivery. These doctors go ahead to refer patients to attend their hospitals because they claim that they have the patient’s medical history and therefore are in a position to handle the medical cases better.

Just because the patients are ignorant they follow the doctor’s instructions to the later. The doctors know very well that carrying out surgeries is expensive and therefore they recommend patients to undergo even when it is not necessary. This is just to ensure that they get more money from patients at the expense of the patient’s health. In this case the concern is not on good care and health of patients but it is about getting more money. This is quite unethical especially min the medical field. (Strunk, and Gabel, 2002)

Drug prescriptions

This is one of the areas where there is unethical practice in the healthcare sector in America. Doctors in United States are prone to prescribing expensive drugs for the patients when they know very well that the health problem can be cured using lesser expensive drugs. These drugs are stocked in their hospitals and are sold quite expensively. Some of the expensive drugs end up destroying the patient’s immunity.

This is not the concern of doctors and nurses but it is all about getting money from patients.

Over-medication results from patients using more drugs than those required to heal there particular diseases. According to research conducted by IMS Health in the year 2006 worldwide spending was estimated to be over six hundred billion dollars although there were reports suggesting that there was slow expansion in some parts of Europe and also North America. (Schaeffer, 2002)

Investigation shows that patient sensitivity of over-prescription may be significant in several approaches. For example, patients might be accurate on the suppositions that they make. Also patients using a lot of prescriptions might be less advocators of their remedial course of therapy. Also patient’s feelings regarding the quantity of their prescription may echo the existence of unfavorable medical drug effects, comprising indications not acknowledged as connected to prescription by both the medical doctor and patient. It is also worth noting that it may be probable that patient sensitivity of over-prescription can be a demonstration of a condition known as psychoneurosis thus resulting to numerous health complications of patients. (Moynihan, 2003)

Check ups

It is very unethical for doctors and medical executives to keep on referring patients to have check ups even when they know that it is unnecessary. This is what is happening in the United States. It is done not that medical practitioners are really interested in the health of the patients, but it is carried out so that there is continual flow of income. In fact 93.1% of medical practitioners in United States are just opportunists. They ensure that they recommend patients to have check ups even when it is not necessary. Because patients are ignorant of this scheme they attend the check ups religiously not knowing that its all about their money and not their health as posed. That is why healthcare industry is referred to as a sick industry.

Lack of justice in healthcare

Looking at the healthcare in United States shows that there is lack of justice practiced in hospitals. This is very common among nurses. Injustice is carried out as they care for patients. Surveys carried out in Seattle in the year 2005 in December indicate that nurses tended to offer some facilities to patients who are well off. Those patients who are not poor are not given   the necessary attention when in hospital. This is not ethical at all and has created various disparities in this essential service.

Denial of healthcare coverage

One of the major aspects that has recently affected United States healthcare is the president’s denial of healthcare coverage for children. This has been referred by scholars as a slap in the face of children. The president said that he believes in private medicine and not in the U.S federal government running the entire system of healthcare. This will automatically reduce a large percentage of insurance profit.

This is bound to greatly affect the low and middle class citizens in the nation as they will not be in a position to afford private insurance cover any more. This means that the healthcare sector in United States will continue to deteriorate as insurance companies hike their charges in relation to provision of this essential health facility. Research reveals that the poor in United States will not be in a position to afford insurance.

Patient’s well being

This should be the primary concern in the healthcare system should be the well being of the patient and not the expenses that are involved. Shareholders in healthcare business need to understand that this is not a business like any other. That is they need not to focus on how much is generated but rather on how well the services are provided. This issue can be better balanced among shareholders by educating them on the imperative issues in healthcare industry which is seeing patients get better and not the amount of profits gained from therein.

Before the price of services is decided in healthcare there needs to be consultation among shareholders so that there is approval of policies. The policies enacted have to be sensitive to the patients’ pockets. When policies are well placed it will help hinder exploitation of patients in relation to the amount that they pay. (Dorschner, 2003)


Regulations in healthcare are essential as they will help to protect the public against unethical practices from medical practitioners. The following regulations need to be put in place; the procedures for ensuring that the health professionals’ conduct doesn’t pose a threat to patients have to be strengthened. They have to focus more on creation of effective operation procedures among medical professionals. There also needs to be ensuring the standards that are required for a beginner in the healthcare industry have to be common all over United States. There has to be common legal requirements for individuals getting registration to become medical practitioners in United States.

When the regulations are put in place, revalidation of all the professionals is important. The regulatory body has to be in charge of standard setting so that individuals have to maintain these standards in order to remain on the register. Data has to be carried out often on how medical professionals are carrying out their work. That is in relation to the treatments given to patients and the amount of money that they are charging them.

Doctors need to know that patient privacy is supreme and there should be no medical data or recognizing information is conveyed to a third person with no articulate authorization of the patient. In order to guarantee that information is amassed and conveyed safely and carefully, certain hardware and scientific explanations that congregate worldwide principles have been put into practice.

Such proceedings or reports are kept and interpret from innermost computer networks gifted with the utmost principles and values of physical and computerized information safekeeping.

Medical data of patients should not be delivered by electronic mail or kept on secondary computers that can be accessed by anyone. The patient has power to right of entry to data to view this medical documentation.

Medical doctors should therefore comply with the requirements of other appropriate global privacy regulations. The huge majority of our moral preferences should be presenting in a simpler manner by adhering to the regulation presented by universal moral principles e.g. individual and proficient standards, guidelines, or set of laws. Always with such alternatives the patients will have little worries and slight perplexity. (Warren, 2005)

However, it is also important to note that some options may be cumbersome to implement whereby such options may leave the patient to think if the doctors have been doing what they are supposed to do so. Doctors therefore ought to learn and be familiar with morally complicated alternatives in order to carry out their duties effectively. There exist many morally complicated options that arise frequently and doctors should be aware on how to deal with such options. (Strunk, and Gabel, 2002)


In United States of America, healthcare influences the well being of millions of Americans, but also influences the strength of Americas’ economy. This nation spends more on health care per person than any other nations. America is said to be having the highest infant mortality rates and a relatively low average lifespan.

For many families, lack of Health care is the source of vulnerability for the household’s economic status as sickness or injury without health care can be a financial burden pushing families to poverty. Americans having Private health coverage has fallen by one percent in the recent years. Health care industry has continued to grow with an increase in employment, this is putting health care in America to become the biggest industry and yet a rather unimpressive result to be proud of when compared to what has been achieved in other countries.

Sixty nine percent of the American public feels that it is the Federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have health care coverage, but many argue that a single – payer system can solve most of the problems that are currently plaguing the health care system in the country. It is said that a universal health care coverage would have the benefits of reducing the gap in health care coverage and be beneficial to healthcare service providers located in areas with high rates of people who are uninsured, according to the institute of Medicine in America. Regulations need to be put in place so that healthcare professionals do not continue with unethical practices at the expense of patients’ well being.


Black, B. (2005):  False Diagnosis; the New York; Prentice Press

Blevins, S. (1995): The medical monopoly: Protecting consumers or limiting

Competition; Cato Policy Analysis pg 246

Dorschner, M. (2003):  Why Cesarean Section is So Popular; New York; Prentice   Press

Moynihan, R. (2003): Who pays for the pizza? Redefining the relationships between

Doctors and Patients; American Medical Journal; Vol. 326, Issue 7400. Pp 900-1080 United States; Pp 12-16

Schaeffer, S. (2002): Rising Health-Care Expenses Outpace U.S. GDP Growth, HealthCare costs rose 9.3% in 2002  PP 207-217

Strunk, B. and Gabel, J. (2002): Tracking health care costs- Growth accelerates again

In 2001; Health affairs; Pp 45-67

Warren, E. (2005):  Sick and Broke; New York; Melbourne Press




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