Vote This, Not That: Casting a Healthy Ballot

Monday, November 5, 2012

For many Americans, health care is a paramount issue when weighing their choices for the presidency, and rightly so. Currently the United States spends nearly $9,000 per capita annually for health care, which far exceeds any other nation in the world.  In addition to that statistic, America has disappointing infant mortality and life expectancy rates when compared to other developed nations. It’s clear to see that Americans have much at stake.

But, according to Jack Newhouse, Ed.D., professor of health services at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, issues of health care have been wrought with controversy and confusion. The United States has long battled with three main issues when dealing with its health care enterprise.

“American health care has been inconsistent when it comes to the questions of right vs. privilege, the government’s role for health care, and what should be the social, cultural, economic and political context reflected in the system,” he says. “History shows these to be contentious and vacillating issues. The question has been, and perhaps always will be, which basic direction is the best framework for American health care — a market-driven, commodity enterprise based in the private sector or a government, socially driven approach using the public sector?

As Newhouse sees it, this industry is too complex with such widespread social demands and expectations that it cannot be answered in strict dichotomous terms. “Americans need a system that fundamentally operates in a market-driven way but that delivers social responsibility for all citizens,” he says.

Newhouse can be reached by contacting the Office of University Communications at 610-660-1222.

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