In most other countries in the world, government plays a central role in covering health care needs; however, in the United States, the private sector (in the form of employer-sponsored health insurance) serves as the dominant form of medical coverage. For this assignment, write 400-600 words discussing the following:
- Describe and discuss some of the ethical concerns or problems that exist because of the dominant form of employer-sponsored health insurance.
- Discuss reform actions that the U.S. government has taken to reduce the ethical concerns or problems that you discussed.
- Define the ethical principle of justice, and discuss its role in the U.S. health care system.
Expert Solution Preview
The healthcare system varies worldwide, and each country has its approach regarding healthcare coverage. In the United States, employer-sponsored health insurance is the dominant form of medical coverage, which raises some ethical concerns or problems. This assignment aims to describe some ethical issues of the said dominant form of employer-sponsored health insurance, discuss reform actions that the U.S. government has taken to reduce such ethical concerns or problems, and define the ethical principle of justice and its role in the U.S. healthcare system.
1. Ethical Concerns or Problems of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance:
One of the main ethical concerns of employer-sponsored health insurance is that it creates inequity in coverage. The coverage of an employee depends on the job or employer, which means that people with jobs that offer better healthcare benefits have access to better healthcare. This creates a situation where people with jobs that offer limited healthcare benefits or unemployed individuals do not get adequate healthcare coverage, leading to health disparities.
Another ethical problem of employer-sponsored health insurance is that it puts employees’ health information at risk. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act do protect employee’s healthcare information, but companies have access to this information, which can be used to discriminate against employees, leading to stigma and other negative outcomes.
2. Reform Actions by U.S Government to Reduce Ethical Concerns:
The U.S. government has taken several steps to address the ethical concerns associated with employer-sponsored health insurance. One of the significant reforms was the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010. The ACA aimed to provide affordable and accessible healthcare coverage for all Americans, regardless of their employment status.
The ACA established health insurance marketplaces where individuals could purchase affordable health insurance. It required companies to provide employees with comprehensive and essential health benefits. The act also prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions, improving coverage access for those with health issues.
3. Ethical Principle of Justice and its role in the U.S Healthcare System:
Justice is an ethical principle that asserts that healthcare resources should be equally distributed based on need, regardless of socioeconomic status or differences. In the U.S healthcare system, justice’s role is to ensure equal access to healthcare for all citizens.
However, the current employer-sponsored healthcare system fundamentally discriminates against some individuals, creating health disparities. The role of justice, therefore, is to ensure that everyone has access to quality healthcare regardless of their employment status. The Affordable Care Act was an attempt to promote justice by expanding access to healthcare services.
Employer-sponsored health insurance is the dominant form of medical coverage in the United States. Despite its benefits, it raises ethical concerns regarding health disparities and discrimination of individuals without proper healthcare coverage. The role of justice in the U.S healthcare system is to ensure equity in healthcare access regardless of the differences among individuals. The government has taken reform actions, such as the Affordable Care Act, to address ethical concerns associated with employer-sponsored health coverage.