Why is the United States the last industrial country to adopt a national health care program? Which sociological perspective(s) best explains why public and political support for health

Health care costs were $2.8 trillion in 2012

Six reasons behind the soaring cost:

Spread of private insurance

Specialization of doctors

‘direct-fee system: health care system in which doctors, technicians and specialists are paid directly for their services either by patients or by insurance companies

‘fee for service model’: practice in which doctors have relatively free range in what they charge for their services. This allows doctors to charge more for services and encourage more diagnostic tests for their patients.

More high technology

‘ghost patients’: practice in which doctor’s charge insurance companies for exams that were never completed on patients that don’t exist.

Often this is couple with the practice of ‘self-referral’ in which doctors refer patients to organizations that provide services in which the doctor has a stake in (either owning the company or being an investor).

Lack of preventive care

Ageing population

More lawsuits

Controlling Costs

Pre-admission testing

Out-patient treatment

Regulating the length of hospitalization

Race and health:

This relationship has been attributed to:

Hazardous working conditions

Poor neighborhoods exposed to pollution

Inadequate and unsafe housing


Access to health care

Biological factors

Racial pressures which lead to stress and depression


The higher your education, the better your health (no matter how it is measured—mortality, morbidity or other general health measures).

Schooling might be a more important correlate to good health than is one’s occupation or income.

Educated individuals are more likely to:

Practice a healthier lifestyle

Visit their primary physicians more

Use new medical technologies or medicines.

Be aware of the health consequences of smoking and drinking.

Transmit their healthier lifestyle to their children.

Most people rely on health insurance:

Private Insurance Programs

64% of the population covered by traditional insurance

86% receive insurance through an employer

14% buy it on their own

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)

Private insurance organizations that provide medical care to subscribers for a fixed fee

Focus on controlling costs by disease prevention

Managed care; use of primary care physician

24% of the population enrolled in HMOs

Government Insurance Programs

Medicare, part of social security for those 65+

15.7% of the population on Medicare in 2012

Medicaid, serves poor people with special needs and families with dependent children

16% of the population enrolled in Medicaid

Veterans receive care in government-operated hospitals

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