Answer to Question 1
In South Florida, healthcare costs are considered unusually higher than in other regions in the U.S. This is based on high healthcare spending, which is attributed to health insurance coverage and employee Medicare coverage. Insured people value healthcare, and want to make the best out of their insurance/Medicare coverage, which triggers a high demand for healthcare services, especially given that they are able to pay for healthcare even at high prices (Skinner & Wennberg, 2003). Skinner and Wennberg (2003) point out that, residents in certain parts of Florida, including South Florida, receive about $40,000 in Medicare benefits, usually over their lifetime. These Medicare benefits are precisely in excess of the amount they pay as taxes (Skinner & Wennberg, 2003). The excess amount comes from taxpayers outside Florida and healthcare providers would definitely elevate healthcare prices in order to utilize the available Medicare coverage money given to residents through healthcare consumption.
Many physicians in South Florida consequently search and recommend more health procedures to their patients to increase the total healthcare cost per patient (Skinner & Wennberg, 2003). This happens even when the physicians know that the procedures are not actually beneficial according to Skinner and Wennberg (2003). In most cases, a healthcare professional in South Florida is said to make trade-offs between the quality of healthcare and income gains from healthcare. This implies that most health professionals are mainly after money instead of providing quality healthcare (Chang & Herald, 2014).
Generally, the statistics regarding the reasons for high healthcare costs are as follow:
Table 1: Statistics Healthcare Provision and Insurance in South Florida (Florida Health Insurance, 2014)
|Florida uninsured residents||20.17%|
From the table, the number of residents with health insurance is higher than those are without insurance. This can be presented in a pie chart as follows:
Figure 1: Insured v. Uninsured Residents
As abovementioned, insurance and employee Medicare coverage enhances the demand for better healthcare services. Together with the residents demand for healthcare, healthcare providers would do the best possible to benefit from such high percentage of insured residents to pay (Chang & Herald, 2014).
Answer to Question 2
The larger proportion of residents in South Florida affords the high cost of healthcare services available because they have full medical insurance cover. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) makes healthcare consumers in charge of their own health. In this case, patients are given the right to make informed choices about their health. This choice mainly involves health coverage through health insurance. Since the high prices in South Florida are chiefly induced by this factor, the ACA will mainly enhance Medicare coverage and medical/healthcare insurance cover among residents in the region. This could in return lead to increased healthcare costs because of increased healthcare demand as more people gain the ability to cater for the offered care prices (Gruber, 2011).
Low-quality health services by healthcare provider taking advantage of the insured patients would, however, be minimized significantly since the ACA given patients the opportunity to choose the primary care doctors of their choice (Gruber, 2011). Besides, people would have more access to healthcare including preventive care services at no cost (Gruber, 2011). From a general perspective, the ACA will make the factor better.
Chang, D., & Herald, M. (2014, September 15). In South Florida And The Nation, Health Care Costs Often Are Shrouded In Secrecy. Retrieved from kaiserhealthnews.org: http://kaiserhealthnews.org/news/in-south-florida-and-the-nation-healthcare-costs-often-are-shrouded-in-secrecy/
Florida Health Insurance. (2014). eHealth Insurance – affordable health insurance for individuals, families & small businesses. Retrieved from ehealthinsurance.com: http://www.ehealthinsurance.com/florida-health-insurance
Gruber, J. (2011). The Impacts Of The Affordable Care Act: How Reasonable Are The Projections? National Tax Journal, 64, 893-908.
Skinner, J., & Wennberg, J. E. (2003). Exceptionalism Or Extravagance? What’s Different About Health Care In South Florida: Physicians’ behavior seems to outweigh patients’ preferences for care in South Florida, especially in the last six months of life. Perspective W3, 372-375.
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