Ethics and Healthcare Reform in the U.S

Ethics and Healthcare Reform in the U.S

Medicine was an art, then a profession, but it is now a business. The biotechnology revolution radically changed the practice of medicine as private enterprise with lack of regulation produced a financially unsustainable system. As healthcare costs sky rocketed, medical care became the major cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. Unlike other countries, the U.S is unable to negotiate prices with the healthcare industry. Without fixed, reasonable pricing, hospitals, pharmaceutical and device companies can continue to charge more as private insurance companies increase fees accordingly. Employer-sponsored health insurance, an effective modality in the early 20th century, is no longer a viable option. Many Americans remain uninsured and others are vastly underinsured because the U.S is the only industrialized nation without a form of universal healthcare. The U.S was founded upon the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Democracy is supposed to foster equal opportunity. With increasing inequality and racism, lack of health insurance due to its exorbitant cost is inconsistent with equal opportunity and “the good life”. Medical care should not be based on a business model because healthcare justice is a moral issue, not a financial one. These ethical concerns and options for a more morally responsible U.S healthcare system will be discussed.

Faculty:

Cheryl L. Kunis, M.D. M.Sc., Clinical Professor of Medicine Emerita, Columbia University Medical Center

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