The Health Care System is one of the most important concentration courses in the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) online MBA in Healthcare Administration program.
This course focuses on the major and minor components of the American healthcare system, including the governmental bureaucratic structure, public and private sector institutions, and methods of care delivery. It deals with other factors that influence public and individual health outcomes, including the complex financial and economic aspects of healthcare, as well as the intertwined policy and political aspects. The course also examines the components and structure of the U.S. healthcare system and how they evolve over time in light of free market economics.
Why the Structure and Components Matter
Before one can have an appreciation for the U.S. healthcare system, one must understand its objectives. What problems are we attempting to solve and what state of health and wellness are we trying to achieve? In the United States, our objectives for meeting the needs and expectations of the populace include:
- Providing widespread access to healthcare resources to improve the quality and longevity of life for as many people as possible.
- Improving the relative health status of individuals, families and communities in comparison to previous decades and to other societies.
- Protecting against threats to public and individual health.
- Protecting individuals from dire financial consequences of illness and disease, and removing financial barriers to healthcare experienced disproportionately by the poor.
- Educating the public to foster a greater concern and knowledge about health, including the prevention of illness and disease.
- Treating disease, nurturing the sick back to health, and helping individuals manage chronic diseases, ailments and pain.
- Making healthcare as affordable as possible, from a governmental and individual perspective.
Understanding the System As It Relates to Our Current Challenges
In the United States today, per capita spending on healthcare far exceeds that of almost all other developed nations. Many of the world's most important healthcare companies and institutions are American, which should mean that Americans have access to the best technologies and the best care. Yet, a small segment of the population has access to most of the available resources, while a large proportion lacks such access. Meanwhile, healthcare costs for companies that offer health insurance as an employment benefit and for small businesses and families that must pay for health insurance continue to spiral at a pace that far exceeds inflation.
The United States has significant problems with equitable healthcare across the populace. The quality and cost of care result in the poor health of certain populations that are not receiving or cannot afford adequate care.
Do we have a systemic problem that requires a massive overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system? Do we have inadequate policies? Do we have issues that can be isolated and corrected? To properly answer these questions, we must understand the components of the system, including places of care, means of care delivery and means of paying for care. We must understand the external influences on the system. The socioeconomic structure, propensity of different populations for various diseases, history of approaches to health problems, and consumer preferences all impact potential solutions.
As you can see, the U.S. healthcare system is complex, and those who will contribute to the solutions our country requires must receive appropriate education. TAMU-CC's specialized MBA and the ambitious students who undertake these studies all have key roles to play toward this end.
Sources:World Health Organization: Key Components of a Well-Functioning Health System
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