Financial Costs of Heart Disease

Sample Research Paper

Words 1,675

Introduction

We all understand that heart disease has significant personal costs in terms of pain and possible disability – as well as carrying with it the possibility of early death. But there is another side to heart disease that people often do not consider until it strikes them personally, which is the economic cost. This paper examines the costs involved with heart disease and the ways in which an occurrence of heart disease can fundamentally disrupt a person’s economic security. In particular, this paper looks at the extent to which the Medicare program covers the cost of heart disease.

The Medicare program, on the other hand, covers most persons aged 65 or older and consists of two related health insurance plans: a hospital insurance plan (called Part A) and a supplementary medical insurance plan (Part B). The hospital plan, which is financed through Social Security payroll taxes, helps pay the cost of inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing home care, and certain home health services. The plan meets most of the cost of hospital bills for up to 90 days for each episode of illness (Patel & Rushefsky, 1999, p. 38).

A high percentage of the benefits that Medicare pays out are financed through payroll deductions; in other words, much of the money that senior citizens receive in benefits under Medicare is, in fact, their own money that they have “pre-paid” into the system. Because it would difficult indeed to argue that seniors do not deserve to have returned to them this money that they have lent to the government during their working years – as well as the fact that most Americans believe that as a class senior citizens deserve to have decent health care – ensures that Medicare is a relatively uncontroversial program. Its establishment as a high priority of the U.S. government is also bolstered by the fact that senior citizens have a substantial amount of political power given that they are more likely to vote than are younger Americans (Patel & Rushefsky, 1999, pp. 41-5). Overall, the effect of these different cultural, political and economic aspects of Medicare is that it provides a significant safety net to older Americans – albeit one that does have some substantial holes in it.

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