The U.S. Health Care System: Historical Discussion

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There are impressive achievements in the health care sector of the 21st century, compared to previous centuries. Unprecedented improvements such as the increase in life expectancy, quality, and technology are instrumental to these achievements. However, the increasing costs and performance variations offset these achievements. This paper provides a simple historical discussion on whether an average American is better serviced in the 21st century than before the Second World War.

Historical accomplishments of the U.S. health care system

The introduction of scientific methods in research accelerated the advancement in medical care at the beginning of the 20th century. The medical discoveries made medical leaders focus on the provision of quality health care. They provided a breakthrough in disease diagnosis and treatment (Schulte, 2012). In addition, the Blue Cross insurance plan dramatically changed the health care providers in the late 1920s. The advancements in medical technology also instrumented tremendous progress in the health care sector.

After the Second World War, the U.S. government started to play a major role in financing health care through the National Health Insurance (NHS). This was premised on the devastating effects of the war, baby boom, and change in lifestyle, demanding good health care. Through the Medicare and Medicaid legislation in 1960, the federal government began providing expanded medical coverage for the elderly and the poor. Currently, the poor people who meet the Medicaid requirement access medical care through the NHS program (Schulte, 2012). Through the implementation of reforms in Medicare and Medicaid Legislation, millions of Americans benefit immensely from the NHS program.

It is critical to mention the shortcomings of the health care system. First, the commercialization of health care insurance increases the cost of health care. This is likely to have long-run effects on the economy. Secondly, there are substantial performance variations in health care delivery (Selby et al., 2010).

The average American is better served today than before the Second World War. The expansion of the medical legislation encourages the availability of health care settings and facilities (Hammaker & Tomlinson, 2011). For instance, the average American is now better served through outpatient, inpatient, institutional, community-based, state, ambulatory care centers, physicians’ offices, voluntary centers, and other comprehensive maintenance centers (Stanfield, Cross & Hui, 2012). The federally-funded centers provide health care services to communities that were underserved initially.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other major reforms in the health care system are beneficiary-centered. Under the ACA, an average American has the liberty to take charge of his or her health care matters. By giving autonomy to the beneficiaries, the ACA ensures that average Americans benefit by compelling insurance companies to be more accountable (Rosenbaum, 2011). To better serve millions of Americans, the health care reforms have a prevention culture where physicians, caregivers, and beneficiaries work together to ensure quality health care.


Average Americans are better served today than prior to the Second World War. Women, children, disabled, and old Americans cannot be denied coverage based on their pre-existing factors. Furthermore, the health care reforms provide an incentive to health care providers to improve and enhance the quality of health care services. In doing these, average Americans are better served through quality and responsive health care. In addition, the improvement in medical care technology has enabled quality treatment and care for patients.


Hammaker, D. K., & Tomlinson, S. J. (2011). Health care management and the law: Principles and applications. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar/Cengage Learning.

Rosenbaum, S. (2011). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: implications for public health policy and practice. Public Health Reports, 126(1), 130.

Schulte, M., F. (2012). Healthcare Delivery in the U.S.A.: An Introduction. Northwest, Washington, D.C. CRC Press.

Selby, J. V., Schmittdiel, J. A., Lee, J., Fung, V., Thomas, S., Smider, N.,… & Fireman, B. (2010). Meaningful variation in performance: what does variation in quality tell us about improving quality? Medical care, 48(2), 133-139.

Stanfield, P., Cross, N., & Hui, Y. H. (2012). Introduction to the health professions. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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