The Role of The Public in The Health Care System

The first and foremost among health care stakeholders is the pubic. Without the public, there wouldn’t be a need for the system. They are the one who pays for the service (tax or health insurance premium) and consume the service. Unfortunately, the gross combined enrollment of 119.249 million in Medicaid and Medicare in 2011 outnumbered the 112.556 million full-time workers employed in both the private sector and in government in 2011. (

The role and the view of the public have changed so much in the past few decades. In the 19th and early 20th century, providers distanced patients from awareness of costs and responsibilities. More recently, the public are more educated and more encouraged significantly in participating in every health care decision. Consumers have turned to the Internet in part because of the dissatisfaction with the amount of information available from traditional sources. The public cynicism spawned as increasing information about the problems of costs, quality, and access has become public. The public is more prepared with media and internet information, more informed about treatment options, and more concerned about cost. This more knowledgeable and involved patient population has placed a new challenge on the providers. (Sultz & Young)

Health care cost, quality and access have been major concerns to the public and all other stakeholders. In 2012, 17.7%, more than 47 million of nonelderly Americans and 640,000 of the elderly were uninsured. ( The United States has the least universal, most costly health care system in the industrialized world. (Bodenheimer & Grumbach). However after the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a new “Patient’s Bills of Rights”, gives American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health. ( Since PPACA requires all individuals to have health insurance by 2014, with some exceptions, and health care should be more affordable and accessible to the public, hopefully millions of people who were previously uninsured will gain coverage. As of May 5, 2014, U.S. uninsured rate drops to 13.4%. (

Health promotion and disease prevention are now the new public health focus. The country’s historical emphasis on health care has been curative. The costs of diagnostic and remedial care became an unacceptable burden and the lack of adequate insurance coverage. (Sultz & Young). Consumers are given incentives to practice healthy lifestyles, rewards for engaging in health management and fitness.

Consumers have influence in shaping a legislative proposal and decisions on health care. For example, the Consumer Coalitions rally around specific issues are effective in generating political pressure in health care reform. (Sultz & Young).


Sultz, A., & Young, K. (2011). Healthcare USA: Understanding Its Organization and Delivery. Sudbary, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Bodenheimer, T., & Grumbach, K (2012). Understanding Health Policy: A Clinical Approach. New York, New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Langer, G. (2003) Health Care Pains Growing Health Care Concerns Fuel Cautious Support for Change. Retrieved from

Jeffrey, T. (2012). Medicaid and Medicare Enrollees Now Outnumber Full-Time Private Sector Workers. Retrived from

(2013). The Uninsured: A Primer – Key Facts about Health Insurance on the Eve of Coverage Expansions. Retrived from

( )About the Law. Retrieved from

Levy, J. (2014). U.S. Uninsured Rate Drops to 13.4%. Retrieved from

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