Health care, or medical care is the care or development of health through the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, care of injury, illness, and other mental and physical impairments in humans. Health care is traditionally delivered by primary health practitioners and other allied health disciplines. Today, primary health practitioners can be general practitioners, psychiatrists, cardiologists, surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, nurses’ aides, and pharmacy technicians. Other health care specialists include nurses’ aides, physical therapy, rehabilitation specialists, and specialists in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis, bacterial infections, and sexually transmitted diseases.
The methods of delivery have changed radically over the years to become more integrated with the patient’s needs, which has resulted in a shift in the paradigm from hospital to community health center. Although there are public and private health centers, most population centers are nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the uninsured and underinsured. Although some are profit establishments, many are supported by government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. A major difference in a public health center from a community health center is that patients have a right-to-use the facility without being required to sign a contract.
Community health care services tend to emphasize preventative measures and carefully screens patients with high medical risk. They also provide comprehensive primary care with doctors and nurses who are familiar with the areas in which they are trained. These services usually cover dental, mental health, substance abuse, and medical procedures and services. Most offer long-term community health care facilities, usually in hospitals, community organizations, or other licensed health care facilities.
A primary care physician is typically a family practitioner who serves all the residents in his clinic. Residents will have their own personal doctor who treats them according to the health care needs they presented. There are some states that allow uninsured individuals to use a specialty doctor on Medicare or Medicaid, but this service is sometimes not available on a primary care basis. There is a severe health care inequality between those who have insurance coverage and those who do not.
The greatest challenge to the American public is health care inequality. One out of five Americans is uninsured, according to Kaiser. Of that five hundred million, nearly twenty million are considered medically “undersinsured.” This means they have conditions that may require emergency or hospitalization surgery, but the cost of the procedure can be thousands of dollars or more, making it impossible for them to pay for it out-of-pocket. Without private health insurance, these people would have to pay for the procedure out of their own pocket. Those who are insured, however, often face a much higher premium for the same procedure or even higher deductibles.
Low-income families also suffer from health care inequality. As aforementioned, those who are uninsured often have to pay higher premiums and deductibles, leaving them with less financial resources to put toward proper health care. Those who are low-income often do not have any way of paying for routine doctor visits or dental care. Those who have health insurance often have to choose between food on their tables and the prescription drugs they need. Many low-income families have neither. In addition, low-income families often cannot afford the deductibles or co-pays that many high-income families can.
Although the United States has some of the best health care systems in the world, there is still an enormous disparity between those who have insurance and those who do not. This gap has been widening for several years, as companies have refused to cover pre-existing medical conditions, raise deductibles or provide more affordable premiums. As a result, the average family’s health care costs have spiraled out of control. Because of this, governmental entities such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been forced to take action.
If you are an American citizen over the age of eighteen who is currently covered by an employer sponsored health insurance plan, you may be able to avoid going uninsured by enrolling in a Medicare supplement called Medicare Part B. If you would like to continue your private health care coverage, then it is necessary that you purchase Medicare Part A and Part D. These three programs will cover your hospital expenses, doctor visits, medicines and other regular health care treatments. It is important to note that Medicare does not cover insurance claims made for injuries, illnesses, outpatient visits, durable medical equipment, disability income or savings, educational expenses related to secondary education, and income or asset taxes, funeral costs, and some dental care.