Allocation of Healthcare Resources

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Allocation of Healthcare Resources

Finite vs. Infinite Health Care Costs

In a just society, everyone has a right to minimum health care. However, such minimum medical care should exclude other social determinants of health such as a person’s income and education that define a person’s lifestyle choices (Klein, 2005). Thus, some procedures should be made available to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. For instance, vaccinations against polio should be universal. On the other hand, reconstructive surgeries such as mammoplasty and liposuction should be made available to those who can afford them. It would seem that neither a universal approach nor an individualistic approach would work in the allocation of health care resources in the U.S. as either approach has its implications for the quality and accessibility of medical care.

The writer of this paper would suggest a compromise between the individualistic model and the universal model. Since future advancements in health care seem infinite, it makes sense that the health care costs would also be infinite. Thus, it is society’s power and will that would determine medical costs for future medical procedures. The principle of ‘social justice’ advocates for basic health care that maintains normal functioning for all people and enables them to “participate in social and economic activities in the society” (Aaron & Ginsburg, 2009, p. 267). On the other hand, the utilitarian view advocates for health care services that improve the quality of life for all. Thus, to support these principles, the rationing of finite medical resources is necessary as the first step in achieving universal coverage.

The PPACA and Health Care Reform

The federal legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 have far-reaching implications on health care coverage in the U.S. It intends to increase the accessibility of coverage to uninsured Americans. To achieve this, PPACA intends to expand individual mandates, create health benefit exchanges, expand Medicaid and review private health coverage plans (Groszkruger, 2011). These strategies will have implications for federal and state health care systems both in the short and long term. In the writer’s view, the PPACA will increase health care costs because it proposes many changes to state health care programs. Raising funds to support the new programs, to integrate them into existing state programs, and enroll eligible people will likely pose many challenges unless specific state legislations are enacted to address them.

The writer holds the view that to ensure successful implementation of this law, the American Legislature should identify ways of managing any future rise in health care costs. Groszkruger (2011) identifies leveraging each state’s economy and decreasing the cost of certain medical procedures as some of the ways of controlling health care costs. The relationship between the state and local agencies during the implementation of PPACA also needs re-evaluation. Another area that needs to be addressed is health care quality. The PPACA, as enacted, is not explicit about the ways of improving health care quality and health outcomes at the state level. Also, the PPACA, through individual mandates, will increase the demand for medical services at the state level. This implies that states will have to put in place the necessary health infrastructure to meet the future demand for health services. In the writer’s view, any health reform should reduce health care costs and expand coverage. However, from the analysis, it is apparent that, if no measures are put in place, the PPACA will increase health care costs and compromise the quality of health care services.


Aaron, H. & Ginsburg, P. (2009). Is Health Spending Excessive? If So, What Can We Do About It? Health Affairs, 28(5), 260-275.

Groszkruger, D. (2011). Perspectives on healthcare reform: A year later, what more do we know? Journal of Healthcare Risk Management, 31(1), 24-30.

Klein, R. (2005). A middle way for rationing health care resources: Technical analysis is indispensable but only the start. British Medical Journal, 330(9), 340-342.