National Health Care (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The development of a national system of HEALTH CARE in the United States has remained a major topic of debate throughout the United States, especially since the 1980s. Healthcare costs in the United States have risen dramatically during the past 40 years, due in part to longer average life spans, which give rise to greater costs because older citizens require greater care, and the employment of technologies that extend the life of patients, which generally results in greater spending. Insurance costs have likewise increased dramatically, and a relatively large percentage of U.S. citizens and other residents are uninsured or underinsured. According to information from the CENSUS BUREAU in 2001, 41.2 million Americans, constituting 14.2 percent of the population, did not have HEALTH INSURANCE.
The healthcare system is largely controlled by the free market, which is believed to provide limitations on how much physicians and other specialists can charge to their patients. However, many critics of the current system, including organizations composed of physicians, note that the system has become largely bureaucratic and that cost-cutting measures and pressures caused by competition and the need for profit have reduced the effectiveness of medical practice. Despite these problems, many commentators have not been able to agree as to the proper level of control that state or federal governments should have...
(The entire section is 1342 words.)
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