Posted: February 19th, 2022

The impact of obesity on medical care costs and labor market outcomes in the US





Health Care Essay: Cost, Access, Quality, and the Role Technology PlaHealthcare is a complex system that includes several factors. When each factor comes into play in healthcare, the involved stakeholders are the most affected. The essential function of healthcare is significantly influenced by technology, access, quality, and costs. Each of the mentioned factors plays a different role. When healthcare is mentioned, one word that comes into mind is costs. The cost may be described as the amount of money that patients pay before, during, or after seeking healthcare services in the healthcare context. The cost of healthcare may also relate to the budgetary allocations to cater for health services. For example, the United States had set a budget of over US $ 3.8 trillion in 2018 to fund healthcare (Leonardsen et al., 2020). Such as huge budget depict the importance of healthcare services in the country. However, it should be noted that the costs of healthcare are ever-changing. Healthcare access describes the convenience and possibility of getting care. Healthcare insurance influences the access to care for the population. Technology in healthcare makes service delivery easy, faster, and of high quality. The factors mentioned above influence service delivery in healthcare facilities.

The costs influence healthcare in many dimensions. It is worrying because healthcare costs have ever been on the rise. Studies have identified the factors that contribute to the ever-rising costs of healthcare services. One of the factors that have led to the rise of healthcare costs is population increase. As the population increase, the aging group also increases. The elderly are prone to chronic diseases, which increases the frequency and urgency of healthcare. The situation can be generalized as a high demand-supply equilibrium. As the demand for healthcare increases due to population increases and the rise in chronic illnesses, the costs of healthcare services increase proportionately. The United States has experienced a constant rise in population growth. The high population translates to a high number of persons seeking healthcare services. A study conducted by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) revealed that the country’s population growth is unhealthy.

A larger portion of the country’s healthcare costs caters to chronic medical conditions. According to Biener, Cawley & Meyerhoefer (2018), over 35% of the population are obese or overweight; this increases the costs of insurance and demands for healthcare services. The development and application of new technologies in healthcare contribute to the increasing costs. In short, a newly introduced technology must have costs healthcare organizations a huge sum of money hence forced to increase the cost of services. Over time, healthcare technologies become obsolete, hence the need to acquire new ones. The cost of acquiring new equipment is high, leading to rising healthcare costs. Another factor leading to the increasing costs of healthcare is the use of fee-for-service systems to reimburse healthcare providers. Many insurers pay healthcare providers based on the quantity and not the quality of service rendered. The higher the quantity, the higher the reimbursement amounts. The rise in healthcare costs was first identified as an issue between 1960 and 1966. During the period, the expenditure on healthcare increased by over 8% per year. Healthcare costs continue to rise due to population growth and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases. The emergence of complex disease conditions increases the frequency by which a person seeks health services (Biener, Cawley & Meyerhoefer, 2018). Other reasons for the continued rise in healthcare costs include increasing ambulatory costs and high out-of-pocket costs, and rising insurance costs. The trending increase in healthcare costs will continue to rise because of the aging baby boomers. The elderly population is at risk of chronic illnesses hence spends more on healthcare. 

Key stakeholders must act swiftly to solve the increasing healthcare costs. The government must play its role in finding the solution and making healthcare services accessible and affordable. Patient education on the types of services they receive can help create awareness and reduce costs. Secondly, the number of medical tests should be lowered, especially if unnecessary. Studies have revealed that some physicians prescribe tests to patients for fear of legal actions or benefit the hospital. Thirdly, increasing competition between healthcare providers can help improve the quality of services while also lowering costs. Stiff competition between insurers helps patients choose affordable options. Insurers can discuss options to lower the costs of premiums to affordable levels while also considering sustainability.

Healthcare costs are unarguably one of the major determinants of healthcare access. An increase in the costs of healthcare is likely to impede access. With the increase in the costs of insurance premiums, most people are left uninsured. However, it is clear that healthcare costs are increasing and will not drop in the future, hence likely increasing the burden on consumers. The field of medicine has seen tremendous technological development and application. Technology, without a doubt, improves healthcare access. Telemedicine and telehealth have enhanced communication between physicians and patients in remote areas. 

Healthcare access has improved today compared to 10 years ago. Many factors have contributed to the increased access. The adoption of modern technology has increased healthcare access to almost every corner of the world. The number of people with medical insurance has increased in the past ten years; therefore, increasing access to care. The rising number of individuals enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare is due to vigorous campaigns and government involvement. Today, telehealth, telemedicine, and communication technologies are widely used by healthcare providers to monitor patients and provide healthcare services without hospitalization.

The provision of quality care remains challenging for healthcare providers. Patients are well-informed and choose healthcare providers associated with high-quality care. The issue of healthcare errors impedes the quality of care. In addition, cases of unnecessary procedures burden patients and lower the quality of care. Other issues include missed or wrong diagnoses, interpreting laboratory diagnoses, and hospital-acquired infections. The quality of healthcare is significantly influenced by costs (Leonardsen et al., 2020). High-quality care comes at a higher cost compared to moderate-quality services. The cost of inputs determines the reimbursement amounts for service providers. Predictably, the quality of care is likely to improve in the future.

The healthcare system is ever-transforming to improve the quality of care and patient experience. Also, advanced technologies are likely to improve the quality of care. Also, medical training is improving, which is likely to improve the quality of care in the future. The healthcare system has transformed over the past years. Therefore, it is more likely that the transformations will likely continue to improve the quality of care. The emergence of complex medical conditions and pandemics has improved healthcare hence promoting the quality of care.

In summary, the future is bright for healthcare, and patients anticipate high-quality care. The goal to improve the quality of care relies on technology. Healthcare services require different technological equipment for diagnosis, monitoring, and communicating. Therefore, stakeholders in the healthcare field should invest in technology to improve the quality of care.




Biener, A., Cawley, J., & Meyerhoefer, C. (2018). The impact of obesity on medical care costs and labor market outcomes in the US. Clinical chemistry64(1), 108-117.

Leonardsen, A. C. L., Hardeland, C., Helgesen, A. K., & Grøndahl, V. A. (2020). Patient experiences with technology-enabled care across healthcare settings-a systematic review. BMC health services research20(1), 1-17.









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