The Current U.S. Health Care System


The provision of healthcare services constitutes a fundamental part of the United States economy. This is because healthcare determines and affects the operability of persons in the American society. Regardless of the importance of healthcare, most Americans view healthcare services as defective in the country. This is in accordance with various negative instances such as healthcare scandals, which affected every person in general. However, in order to counter the problems instituted by the previous governments, the Obama administration has engaged in a clean-up act that focuses on ameliorating the healthcare enterprise. With the introduction of strict and extensive reforms such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the incumbent government is indeed serious in restructuring healthcare for the benefit of all Americans. Consequently, an overview of the United States Healthcare system is necessary in order to verify what it entails.


The healthcare system comprises a very important segment of the American social and economic system. This is because fair healthcare composes an essential basis for the ability to exist and carry out delegated responsibilities within the society. Individuals perceive healthcare and health as completely divergent terminologies based on the illnesses they have or in terms of sufficient health coverage. Following from this assertion, it is evident that such views by civilians are true and rational. The reason for this predisposition relies on the fact that healthcare is actually a system in this context. Undeniably, the U.S. healthcare system is an enterprise. The notion behind this presumption bases on the differentiation between health and non-health (Kovner & Knickman 2011, 4). Consequently, a first delineating feature of the U.S. healthcare enterprise is the boundary between tasks aimed at maintaining the health of individuals and tasks focused on reinstating health after the occurrence of an injury or a disease.

Maintaining the health of people constitutes the business side of the American healthcare system, more specifically, the public health structure. Public health comprises duties such as environmental protection, verification of safety in water and food supply as well as the provision of defensive health services, for instance, vaccinations.  Maintaining health also involves factoring in behavioral health. Behavioral health assists individuals in formulating better decisions concerning the enhancement or protection of their health. Accordingly, the social system also plays a significant role in establishing a surrounding that supports healthy lifestyles. Furthermore, the medical care division focuses on restoring health in the event that a disease or injury happens. The focus of this sector is to provide treatment services that enable the affected to recover from health dilapidating conditions (Kovner & Knickman 2011, 4).

Accordingly, the challenges also provide an overview of the current U.S. healthcare system. One of these defining challenges comprises the organizational structure of the healthcare system. Accordingly, Americans view the healthcare system as a private sector. This is in accordance to the unsatisfactory role that the American government is playing in solving the social problems arising from the provision of medical care (Hunt 2013). Furthermore, insurance coverages within the healthcare system also facilitate this perception. However, the healthcare system is actually a public-private amalgam. Public health financing programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program account for considerable percentages of government expenditure. Daschle and Nather (2010, 4) surmise that such financing programs, as of 2007, accounted for 46 percent of spending in the provision of nationwide healthcare.

The financing debacle characteristic of the healthcare system further reflects another defining feature of the country’s healthcare system. This trait involves the pressure between government control and the private sector. The tension between these two aspects is evident where most community hospitals in the American society constitute non-governmental and non-profit organizations. Furthermore, this contention blurs the boundary between health goods as rights or commodities. However, it is evident that healthcare services provided by non-profit organizations comprise a significant segment of the health sector. Other features characterizing the healthcare system include healthcare institutions, healthcare professionals as well as medical technology and treatment (Kovner & Knickman 2011, 5; Hunt 2013).

Regardless of the dysfunctions characterized by the U. S. healthcare system, the Obama administration has focused on initiating policy reforms that focus on delivery of effective healthcare. One of these reforms comprises the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 (Longest 2010, 7). The reform focuses on different but interrelated areas that cause the social problems faced by the American society. Accordingly, the reform concentrates on enhancing access to insurance coverage by insuring 32 million Americans (Kovner & Knickman 2011, 6). The policy also intends to minimize increasing healthcare expenses and unhealthy behavior. Furthermore, policy reforms initiated by the current administration concentrate on augmenting the harmonization, lucidity and responsibility of local healthcare systems.


The U.S. healthcare system draws a clear boundary between health and non-health. Based on this, the system differentiates between the maintenance of health and the reinstatement of health in case of an injury or a disease. Regardless of the efforts by the government to provide healthcare, most Americans view the healthcare system as a precursor to the social problems experienced contemporarily. Most of these social problems arise from the inability to access medical and insurance coverages and the tension amid the private and public sector in the provision of healthcare. However, with the inclusion of policy reforms such as the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the incumbent government attempts to mitigate these problems in order to ensure quality healthcare delivery.


Daschle, Tom and David Nather. Getting it done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010.

Hunt, R. Albert. “U.S. Health Care is Even More Broken than We Thought.” Bloomberg. March 3, 2013.

Kovner, Anthony R. and James R. Knickman. “The Current U.S. Health Care System.” In Health care delivery in the United States, edited by Anthony R. Kovner and James R. Knickman, 3-8. New York: Spring Publishing Company, 2011.

Longest, Beaufort. Health Policymaking in the United States. Chicago: Health Administration Press, 2010

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