Increase in cost of health care

This is also another approach that may be used in order to put pressure to people who are not covered to get access to health care insurance. Since people find the tax penalty undesirable, this approach assumes that these people would get access to health care insurance. According to Starfield & Shi (2004: 1493-1498), the benefit of this approach is that it would encourage people who are otherwise idle to look for employment so that they can afford health care insurance. It will also make the people who evade paying for the insurance pay for it. People in the country illegally may also be exposed, and they will be heavily taxed.

The overall benefit is increase in overall tax collected by the government and this can be channeled toward health care activities. Before analyzing the cost of this approach, it is important to analyze the barriers to health insurance in US. One barrier to health insurance in the US is immigration status. According to statistics, foreigners in the US have twice as higher chance of not being insured as compared to population that is native born. This is a barrier for medical care for these individuals and their family. Usually, these people are the most vulnerable to poverty, which makes the situation even worse.

According to Starfield (2004: 165-170), the second barrier to health insurance is disability. Many people with disabilities have reported that they face more barriers in acquisition of health insurance, compared to the ordinary people, especially for the people with the most extreme cases of disabilities. The exact causes of the barriers are not well known, but they border between discrimination and lack of accessibility to the services, attributable to the disabilities. The third factor that acts as a barrier to health insurance is low income.

This barrier comes through the lack of money to pay for office visit, drug prescriptions and insurance deductibles. This is a major barrier to insurance for many low income families. After assessing the barriers to health insurance, it is then easier to analyze the effects of this approach in pressuring people to get access to health insurance. The major costs of this approach, as presented by the barriers to health care insurance, is that it will hurt the people who need health care the most. These people do not have access to money, and this might lead to some of them engaging in crimes so that they might be able to afford health care.

According to Macinko (2003: 407-452), presence of health care insurance may lead to over consumption problems, and this is a situation where people abuse the access to health care, visit doctors and request for tests at higher rates, than they would have if they did not have insurance. Another problem is the fact that some people may abuse their habits so that they can make use of the insurance. This means that people may ignore exercising and practice habits such as smoking since they know that they have insurance. These factors may drive up the cost of health care, due to increase in demand of health care services.

Diagram illustrating increase in cost of health care. Source: own. Conclusion and recommendation. Clearly, the people who do not have health insurance are the people who need health care the most. It can also be deduced that it is not the intention of the majority to ignore health insurance since they need it the most. Taxing these people for not having health insurance is not likely to benefit them, or the nation at large. On the contrary, it is likely to make the situation worse for them, and worse for the country.

People such as immigrants have several barriers ranging from linguistic barriers to visa status, which makes them unable to access the insurance. Instead of the government taxing people who do not have access to health insurance, it should facilitate the ease in acquiring health insurance for the identified groups. In this case, it will not be punishing the people who are already suffering. The US President-elect, Barrack Obama pledged to introduce universal health care in the US through reducing wastage in health care system, by the end of the first term.

Works Cited

Bitler, Marianne, P. & Shi, Weiyi. Health insurance, health care use, and health status in Los Angeles County. Public Policy Institute of California San Francisco, CA, 2006, 134-138. Macinko, J. A. , Shi, L. , Starfield, B. Income inequality and health: a critical review of the literature. Med Care Res Rev. 2003; 60(4): 407-452. Starfield, B. US child’s health: what’s amiss, and what should be done about it? Health Aff (Millwood). 2004; 23(5): 165-170. Starfield, B. , Shi, L. The medical home, access to care, and insurance: a review of evidence. Pediatrics. 2004; 113 (5 Suppl) :1493-1498.

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