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Ethics and Health

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Ethical concern discussed by the author is mostly cost-containment issues related to the need to save the patient’s costs due to both objective economical and ethical reasons. The latest researches demonstrate that the healthcare industry of today has the most varying price levels for the exact same product. The pricing for the medical products are not clarified to the patient when he crosses the threshold of the hospital. This is also connected with the insurance companies with a variety of plans offered – it makes the entire system obscure for all medication process participants. The whole system remains a secret to the majority of patients and even doctors, so those who can afford appropriate medication often get bills with enormous sums of money to be repaid. Doctors are not able to provide sufficient information, and many times the recommended solutions are not in fact necessary for the patient (Pevtzow, 2012).

The article also addresses the question of informed consent as when the doctor prescribes multiple medications and procedures that may turn out unnecessary and oblivious to the patient’s budget, the patient needs to give his informed consent but it is not always the case. It is difficult to determine the exact boundaries of informed consent as agreeing to take on certain medications it does not always mean that the informed consent is obtained. Doctors do not always provide their patients with complete information about the benefits and risks of starting a certain medication course but even if they do patients may still have no deep insight into what they are recommended to do and how it is going to affect their health condition.  There two issues are very typical for healthcare industry, and along with many other problems they require constant regulation and control on the behalf of the healthcare law.

The ethical concern principles involved are the respect for autonomy (the patient’s right for free choice and information), beneficence (thinking about the best advantage of the patient), justice (promoting fairness and equality for all process participants), and veracity (telling the complete truth to the patient on the medication course start). Financial concerns are partially related to non-maleficence as no intention to do harm (including the patient’s budget) (Lauer, 2009).

The writer presents the ethical concern fairly as he provides excessive details from real healthcare provider companies but the emphasis is made on economic factors rather than ethical considerations. However, the author supports his arguments with personal interviews as a primary source of information. He does not provide that much of his own interpretation and analysis (Pevtzow, 2012).

The author’s recommended resolution is to enhance the existing system of prescriptions, educating doctors on how to make their decisions cost-effective and budget-saving, training medical specialists to understand the complexities of modern insurance systems and explaining such to the patients. Certain regulations on how to set the limits for doctor’s prescriptions in case the courses or drugs are not necessary should be set.  One of the main reasons behind these contradictions leading to heavy budget hits on the behalf of patients is the tradition deeply rooted into medical practice. It is universally accepted that health cannot be bought, and the patient has to worry only about his condition rather than his budget. This approach led to misconceptions, mistreatment and excessive use of the doctor’s right to make decisions (Lauer, 2009). Taking budget considerations into account do not outweigh the concerns related to health condition and associated measures. The author states that financial considerations should eventually become a part of Hippocrates’ Oath. Now it is necessary to keep the further financial responsibilities of the patient in mind to secure his happy future and to promote good.

The patients should also not feel embarrassed to communicate with their doctor about what they can or cannot afford. Unfortunately, uninsured or underinsured patients are at the risk of losing their property or money meant for the college education of their children, and it should as well become doctor’s basic concern. In these terms, one of the crucial solutions would be to offer several available alternatives that the patient can review and select. Medical students should receive additional courses on cost-effectiveness of the service they will provide in future (Lauer, 2009). In my view the outcome was satisfactory because the author used unbiased primary data obtained with the help of interviewing, and the arguments are integrated into each other providing smooth reading. 

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