Ethical and economic factors influencing healthcare reforms


Ethical and Economic FactorsInfluencing Healthcare Reforms

The United States is currently undergoing tremendous reforms in thehealth care sector. There are however very fundamental economic aswell as ethical challenges that are faced, and they contribute to thetension that is experienced between care and costs within the healthcare system as a whole. This paper, therefore, analyzes and presentsassessments of the main ethical and economic challenges that facereforms in the health care system (Beadle, 1993).

Whereas MedPAC as an appointee by the federal government does notinvolve the cost benefits analysis while deciding on what should orshould not be covered by the federal government in paying for thehealth care. In 2010 for instance, the federal government involvedsome experts in conducting a survey meant to inform the government ofwhether to pay for the treatment of prostate cancer through a newlyproduced cancer vaccine which was deemed very expensive, not only forthe patients but also for the government (Stein, 2010). The analysissparked a heated debate among the medical practitioners such as thevaccine producers, drug companies, cancer patients, the cancerexperts as well as lawmakers.

Therefore, from the debate on whether or not the federal governmentshould facilitate payment for prostate cancer patients, there is aperceived change from the previous mechanisms where MedPAC andMedicare could only design a policy without involving thecost-benefit analysis. The tension that the discussion and debateengaged in the Washington could not be necessary because aspreviously stated the law does not allow MedPAC to engage the costin designing policies.

The current prostate cancer preference among American men is quitehigh thereby raising the economic concern on how and whether thegovernment should facilitate the payment for the Provenge vaccinewhich proves to be very costly. On the other hand, the moral concernsare on whether or not cancer patients should be assisted in managingthe cost through subsidies for the drugs which would proveunmanageable to the majority. There is, therefore, the tension of themoral responsibility of medical care providers to assist the patientsor let them suffer for lack of capacity to afford the costs. Finally,the interaction of medical needs and operation of hospitals (ormedical facilities) as businesses raises ethical concerns as on howmuch the care should be charitable or profitable (Blankley &ampForgione 1996).While defining the concerns is subjective, it is notedthat these are real challenges that are facing the health care systemreform efforts in the country.


Beadle, C. E. (1993). Health care reform: Issues facing employerscenter on private vs. government control. Compensation andBenefits Review, 25(4), 24. Retrieved from

Blankley, A., &amp Forgione, D. (1996). Ethical issues facingprivate, not-for-profit hospitals in the U.S.: The case of themethodist hospital system. Public Budgeting and FinancialManagement, 8(3), 334-353. Retrieved from

Stein, R. (2010, November 8). Review of prostate cancer drug Provengerenews medical cost-benefit debate. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from