The American Health Care System Essay

1682 Words Nov 5th, 2015 7 Pages
Today’s health care system is not only complex, it is significantly different from-what it used to be. The American health care system has undergone many drastic changes over the past twenty years and still evolving (Carlson & Russ, 2006; Conklin, 2002). However, numerous significant trends effect the health care industry. The most significant trend in the health care industry today is the rising cost of care. In 2004, employer health insurance costs rose 8%, almost three times the rate of inflation (Bonin, 2012; Carlson & Russ, 2006; Kaufman & Stein, 2006; Pear, 2005). Prescription drugs are the fastest growing element of health care costs. Although rising prices are partly responsible, increased utilization is the main driver (Carlson & Russ, 2006; Executive Office of the President of the United States, 2012; Querna, 2005). New medical technologies also account for much of the increase in health care costs. A traditional X-ray machine costs $175,000, while the current technology, a CAT scanner, costs $1 million. A traditional cardiac balloon catheter cost $500, a treated stent, costs $5,000, so forth (American Hospital Association, 2015; Berk & Monheit, 2001; Bonin, 2012; Carlson & Russ, 2006; PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2003). Changing industry structure. The main factors that are driving restructuring is advances in medical technology; incentives in the Medicare payment system; and managed care has reduced unnecessary hospitalizations and hospital…

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