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Importance of Health Care Policy in America: Analytical Essay

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Health policy refers to decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within a society (World Health Organization, 2019). It outlines priorities and the expected roles of different groups; and it builds consensus and informs people (WHO, 2019). Health care policy implicates the nursing field on so many levels. There are around four million nurses practicing in the United States of America, Nurses have the potential to change and influence policy change on a local and global level (Brokaw, 2016). When nurses are influencing they are being advocates for the patients that they care for. Nurses play an important role in the development and implementation of healthcare policy. Nurses need to be skilled in patient care as well as in interdisciplinary teamwork, informatics and technology, implementing evidence-based practice, and quality improvement (Brokaw, 2016). Health care policy encompasses the design and establishment of health insurance plans to allow local communities to afford efficient and quality medical care. As such, these policies are essential in ensuring proper training of medical practitioners, the safety of drugs and medical equipment, administration of public programs and promotion of community health care.

Health care policy has had a drastic impact on the nursing profession. Health care policy can affect whether or not some one is receiving care compared to when some is not receiving care. Policies can affect the care provided to communities, cost of procedures and medications, and also the geographic regions that provides these medical services.

Health care policy also affects nursing in the care that is provided. Nurses are an important part of providing exceptional care to the patients that we treat everyday, and it is important for the voices of these nurses to be heard. Nurses can bring valuable input when it comes to health care and policy change. Nurses are faced with a lot of adversaries, and there for need to speak up when it comes the health care and help redefine policies.

As advanced practice nurse, we must advocate for our patients, and relay their messages to our high ups, such as doctors, and politicians. We need to help make our community/country a better place to live, grow and work. We work to provide the best possible care, as we work with infants, children and adults. It is our duty to advocate for them, as sometimes the feeling that they do not have a voice, in the issues that affect them.

This paper will discuss the importance of the health care policy: the rising cost of prescription drugs, how a policy change can impact Americans, and how politicians can help change the policies of medications.

Identification of selected health care policy

If anyone has taken prescription drugs, they know that drug prices has been on the rise in the last few years. A report in January 2019, found that oral medications rose from 9 percent a year from 2008 to 2016 and injectable medications rose more than fifteen percent (Kodjack, 2019). Why is there such an increase on medications? It was found that the skyrocket of medications is due to the cost of medications, not expensive new therapies or improvements in existing medications (Kodjack,2019). Drug manufacture companies claim the rise is due to new therapies or improvements. This issue affects everyone in the United States, whether they be men, women and children but what drew this attention was patients that come into the hospital. Many of the patients are admitted and even re admitted are due to the fact that they cannot pick up their prescription drug medications. They always say “my medications are to much, and I have to choose between them and everyday living expenses.” It is so sad that medication expenses are on the rise. In one article in the Indy Star, a young girl who was aged 25, spoke about how much her insulin medication has gone up in the last year. Though she has private insurance, she is still unable to provide the means for the remainder of her medications. She has to ration the medication that she is given from her pharmacy. This unfortunately has lead to her not receiving the proper care and medication she needs to treat and manage her type 1 Diabetes mellitus (Rudavsky, 2019). When all else fails, she has to turn to her sister who is also diabetic, to help out her out . This leads to her sister having a smaller supply for herself as well. It is considered to be a never-ending cycle. “As many as one in four, people on insulin had to ration their medication (Rudavsky, 2019).

Prescription drugs have been substantial contributors to health care inflation. Pharmaceuticals account for about ten percent of total health care costs (Kesselheim, Huybrechts, , Choudhry, Fulchino, Isaman, Kowal, & Brennan, 2015). A survey completed by National Center for Health Statistics researchers’, Robin A. Cohen and Maria A. Villarroel, found that about 8% of adult Americans don’t take their medications as prescribed because they can’t afford them (Lewine, 2015). As we know not taking medications has serious consequences, as it could lead to heart attacks, strokes, unnecessary complications related to a prior/treating condition and more hospitalization. With the high prices of medications, many Americans are not filling their prescriptions, looking to other countries to fill them, or asking their doctor for a different medication. In a study completed in March by Consumer Reports found that one in three Americans (32 million people) where hit with a price increase on their medications. It had a cost of 63 dollars more for a drug that was routinely taken and few of those surveyed paid over five hundred dollars (Consumer Reports, 2016). Some Americans have insurance, whether through private or government assistance, but even then the copays/the amount paid by insurance is still extremely too high (Lewine, 2015). As of 2019 drug makers raised the prices on more than 250 prescription drugs according to RX Saving Solutions (Lovelace,2019).

Description of student selected-identified solution

There is never an easy answer on what can be done to help decrease the prices in prescription medications. In the Consumer Report Best Buy Drugs poll, seventy-seven percent of Americans feel that the government should enforce the drug companies to lower the prices of medications (Consumer Reports, 2016).Currently the United States, does not control prices, because they assume that the pharmaceutical companies would compete with each other, which would result in lower prices. This has allowed pharmaceutical companies to set their own prices. As a result of this, in the United States we have one of the highest drug prices in the world (Gronde, Uyl-de Groot, & Pieters, (2017). Pharmaceutical companies are saying that the drug increase has been modest (Lovelace, 2019).

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An idea could consist of the government to set a limit on out of cost expenses when it comes to medications. In 2015, in regards to the Affordable Care Act, California enacted a law that states citizens would not pay more than two hundred fifty dollars per month, for a single prescription or five hundred dollars for high-deductible plans (Consumer Reports, 2016). The rise of drug prices was a big debate in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Other countries such as Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands are working with drug companies to negotiate set prices (Gronde, Uyl-de Groot, & Pieters, (2017). This would allow the government to help regulate prices and spending costs that Americans would have to spend when going to pick up their prescription medications.

A positive solution to the setting of limited spending would be that Americans would not have to spend as much on medications. People would be able to afford not only their medications but also their everyday life expenses, such as their bills, food, clothing and gas for their vehicles. People on a fixed income such as those living on social security and their pensions would be able to live more comfortably and not be so stressed out. The American people would need to support these k by going to their doctor and receiving medications from their doctor or nurse practitioner. We would also need to take these medications. If price was no longer and issue, than our concern on prices should drop. We would need to show the government that we support the change of having a lower cost for medications. Patients would also need to talk to their doctors about switching to generic brands of medications, as this would allow cheaper prices to happen as well. Generic medications would also help keep the prices down and low.

As a measurable outcome we would be able to see the amount of money Americans are saving on their medications, and using that money else where. This would allow them to spend more on actually taking care of themselves, as in obtaining healthy food and vegetables. They would not have to pick or choose what is more important to them. As it was mentioned above, many Americans would benefit from a change and help from the government, and feel that it is necessary for the government to help and step in with the rise in medication costs.

Two challenges that could interfere with this new policy change could be that consumers are questioning if drug innovations would happen. Some people feel that the drug companies would stop making new drugs and that we would be stuck with the current ones that we have on the market. One other challenging issue is the shortage of generic drugs at times. Between the years of 2007 and 2012 the number of generic medication shortages went from 154 to 456. Many of these drugs were only made by a certain number of manufactures ( The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy,2017).

One solution to help fix this, would be for the Food and Drug Administration to wok with drug regulators in other countries to create a common system through which drug companies can easily submit applications to manufacture generic drug (The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, 2017).

Identification of Elected Official

One Politician that supports the slashing of prescription drugs prices is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He also has the backing of the Democratic house leaders. Through out his bid for the 2016 Presidential campaign, one of his campaign goals was to help alleviate the rising costs of prescription medications. He listed lowering prescription drug costs as one of his main priorities, that he would like to accomplish ( Lovelace,2019). He recently wrote a letter to a drug manufacture Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Chief Executive Officer Patrick J. McEneny saying he was profoundly concerned that his action would cause patients to suffer and or die (Soga, 2019). Bernie Sanders would support the idea of lowering prescription medication, because one of his main focuses, in Washington D.C., is trying to persuade the politics on capital hill, to try and come up with a solution to help bring down the cost of medications for the American people. Bernie Sander is working on passing laws to help Americans, by making sure that the drug prices in the United Stats are not higher than Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan (Rudavsky, 2019).

Conclusion

It is so important for politicians such as Bernie Sanders to help fight the health policy concern of the rising prescription drugs that are affecting millions of Americans every year. As it was noted, other countries have where the government is regulating the medications that are provided to their citizens. It is a shame that as big as this country is, that we are paying so much money out of pocket, and even with insurance we are paying so much money. As a result of the high spending, Americans are looking to spend money in other countries to obtain their medications, which could result in other issues and concerns. Safety is so important, and we need to make sure that the patients we are treating are getting the correct dose and amount of medication that they need. This is one of the hottest political issues in 2019 and 2020. Hopefully with some powerful policy change we can help the American People achieve better prices on the medications they need to survive.

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Importance of Health Care Policy in America: Analytical Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/importance-of-health-care-policy-in-america-analytical-essay/
“Importance of Health Care Policy in America: Analytical Essay.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/importance-of-health-care-policy-in-america-analytical-essay/
Importance of Health Care Policy in America: Analytical Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/importance-of-health-care-policy-in-america-analytical-essay/> [Accessed 4 Feb. 2023].
Importance of Health Care Policy in America: Analytical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 12 [cited 2023 Feb 4]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/importance-of-health-care-policy-in-america-analytical-essay/
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