better health outcomes including higher life expectancies B u s i n e s s F i n a n c e
Covid19 has laid bare many of the inequities and weaknesses in the U.S. health care system and it isn’t due to a lack of investment. We spend an estimated 18% of our GDP on health care compared to just 11% for Western Europe. For that lower spend, they cover 100% of their population and have better health outcomes including higher life expectancies, lower rates of infant mortality, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease and drug related deaths, to name a few (Bradley, Sipsma, & Taylor, 2017). (It is worth noting that these systems also enjoy very favorable overall ratings from their citizenry.)
With approximately 12% of Americans already uninsured prior to the virus, millions losing their coverage along with their jobs, and the mounting cost to our public health care system of providing such Herculean care, our insurance and health care system is being stretched to (or beyond) its breaking point. We won’t know the total economic and social costs / impact for a while.
As an HR executive your job will of course not be to solve the health care crisis in America but you should be familiar with the overall industry challenges, what significant macro-level alternatives are being considered and the social impacts of the choices being made. While there is still much that we don’t understand about the inter-relationships between health care access and outcomes and demographic variables, many disturbing outcomes impacting society are currently known. We know that income inequality is negatively associated with health care access and quality and that income inequality has been growing steadily in the U.S. for decades. We also know that minorities are more heavily represented in the lower economic rungs as income inequality increases. In a recent study across one thousand U.S. counties and 640,000 infections, Black and Latino individuals were shown to be three times more likely than Whites to become infected and nearly twice as likely to die from Covid19 (Oppel, Gebeloff, Lai, Wright, & Smith, 2020).
U.S. companies have been grappling with the rapidly rising costs of providing health care benefits for decades. As an HR executive, your position and voice on how to provide health care to your employees matters. Write a short white paper that lays out your position on macro-level structural choices for the U.S. health care system. Keep it simple – single payer, private health care or a hybrid – and state your reasons why. There is no right or wrong answer. This case is intended to make you think about what you believe is best for your organization, community and nation. (Minimum of 500 words of original thought.). Use at least one current article to support your position.