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Impacts of increased health care costs on American families affected by heart diseases: A Systematic Analysis

INTRODUCTION

Background information

Health care is one of the most important aspects of the life of any average American citizen (Deaton, 2008). It refers to the aspect of promoting the general mental, physical and general well being of people (Huber et al., 2011). The cost of health care has been rapidly increasing in different parts of the world (Wang et al, 2011). In America, the increase has been due to the upsurge of heart diseases (Epping-Jordan et al., 2004). Available statistics suggest that the cost of health care has been steadily increasing especially due to chronic conditions of which heart related diseases is the most common. Between 1999 and 2009, health care costs in America nearly doubled (Brownell et al., 2009). The increase in health care costs affects the family’s health care premium, out of pocket spending, the employer’s share of health insurance premium and the family’s federal and state taxes devoted to government health programs (Auerbach, & Kellermann, 2011). Since the income of the individuals is shared with the family, an increase in spending on health care directly affects the other operations of the individuals as well as the family. This paper seeks to analyze systematically the impacts of increased health care costs on American families affected by heart diseases.

Rationale/Significance of the study

Heart related diseases are the most common diseases affecting Americans (Lloyd-Jones et al., 2010). This leads to increased spending on health care costs. Both the family health care premium and the out of pocket spending affect the income of individuals directly and they can feel the pinch of increased costs directly. The state and the federal taxes devoted to the government programs are hidden from the individual families (Auerbach, & Kellermann, 2011). The increasing cost of health care attracted the attention of the US 44th President Barack Obama who started a campaign on health care insurance for all and brought about the Obama care which has impacted on the lives of the Americans positively. The Obama care ensures that each and every individual in America has health insurance (Obama, 2008; Manchikanti, & Hirsch, 2009). The health insurance laws has also been revised to accommodate the low income earners and people without stable employment.

Problem

In 2010, 34.3% of the total deaths in USA was due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) (Lloyd-Jones et al., 2010). Health care costs impacts on the overall income of the citizens. Studies indicate that health care spending in USA is not only focused on curative medicine but also specialty drugs mostly for the management of chronic diseases. In 2011, USA spent 17.9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Fuchs, 2013). This is the highest health expenditure in the world. In America, drugs used to cure chronic illnesses account for over 86% of health care expenditure. Diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart related diseases, obesity and arthritis are among the leading illnesses that impact the lives of the Americans. Lifestyle in America has resulted to many health complications that cost the families and individuals a lot in health care.

Purpose of the study

This paper will be an eye opener to the policy makers and the relevant ministries which are concerned with health care provision and health care insurance. It will expose how the lives of the Americans are affected by paying high expenditure on health care and management of chronic heart conditions. The quality of life is affected by the disposable income of individuals. This is adversely affected when the health care costs continue to soar. There are various factors that lead to high health care spending in the USA. The aging population in the USA and lifestyle are among the leading factors contributing to heart related diseases. Age related diseases which are also usually chronic demand high health care services as compared to those among the youthful population. The lifestyle in USA is also a contributing factor to occurrence of heart related diseases leading to high health care costs. Understanding the impacts of increased health care costs on American families affected by heart diseases is necessary in finding a long term solution to the problem.

References

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Brownell, K. D., Farley, T., Willett, W. C., Popkin, B. M., Chaloupka, F. J., Thompson, J. W., & Ludwig, D. S. (2009). The public health and economic benefits of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages. New England journal of medicine361(16), 1599-1605. DOI: doi:10.1056/NEJMhpr0905723

Deaton, A. (2008). Income, health, and well-being around the world: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll. The journal of economic perspectives22(2), 53-72. doi:10.1257/089533008785492315

Epping-Jordan, J. E., Pruitt, S. D., Bengoa, R., & Wagner, E. H. (2004). Improving the quality of health care for chronic conditions. Quality and safety in health care13(4), 299-305. doi:10.1136/qshc.2004.010744

Fuchs, V. R. (2013). The gross domestic product and health care spending. New England Journal of Medicine369(2), 107-109. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1305298

Huber, M., Knottnerus, J. A., Green, L., van der Horst, H., Jadad, A. R., Kromhout, D., … & Schnabel, P. (2011). How should we define health?. Bmj,343. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d4163

Lloyd-Jones, D., Adams, R. J., Brown, T. M., Carnethon, M., Dai, S., De Simone, G., … & Go, A. (2010). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2010 update A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation121(7), e46-e215. DOI:doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192667

Manchikanti, L., & Hirsch, J. A. (2009). Obama health care for all Americans: Practical implications. Pain Physician12(2), 289-304. http://www.painphysicianjournal.com/current/pdf?article=MTE5Mw%3D%3D&journal=48

Obama, B. (2008). Modern health care for all Americans. New England Journal of Medicine359(15), 1537-1541. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp0807677

Wang, Y. C., McPherson, K., Marsh, T., Gortmaker, S. L., & Brown, M. (2011). Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK. The Lancet378(9793), 815-825.