Healthcare Paper on Modern Healthcare and Life Expectancy
The digital age has seen the medical field improve significantly with a variety of diseases such as dracunculiasis no longer hold the status of life threatening diseases. Subsequently, the current innovations in healthcare and medicine led to Victoria Allen, a science correspondent for the daily mail post, to post an article suggesting that the human life expectancy in the year 2017 would be 170 years (Allen, 2017, P.np). After going through the article, there seems to be scientism on the issues presented; subsequently, a number of questions of the authenticity and accuracy of Allen’s perception. This article centres its discussion on the issue of life expectancy, population growth, birth rate as well as the growth of modern medicine with the inclusion of insurance.
According to Timiras (2007), human life expectancy is defined as a statistical measure that presents the average duration a human being is expected to live in reference to the prevailing environmental conditions. There is a prevailing perception that the improvement of medical care guarantees increased life expectancy; however, this phenomenon is more complex than it appears. According to Getzen (2012) life expectancy is determined by four primary factors namely;
- a) A sufficiently low risk of death such that improving health is worthwhile
- b) Ample wealth to pay for advanced medical treatment
- c) Effective medical technology
- d) Financial organization through insurance and government programs to pool funds from many people
When these aspects are placed under consideration, it becomes evident that different durations or periods have dissimilar human life expectancies. As stated by Getzen (2012) the ‘Stone Age’ is the genesis of human kind as is known today. The life expectancy during this period was stated to be less than 30 years considering the dangers that faced the human population. This was a high-risk environment that had heightened threats of wild animals, diseases and harsh weather conditions such as extreme cold winter and droughts. As stated by Neugarten, et al, (1977) more than 50% of the children lost their lives before they grew old enough to start their own families. However, the remains of some fossils show that some humanoids lived to see their fortieth and fiftieth birthdays. The ‘Agricultural age’ saw an increase population growth, which may be attributed to the fact that the risks facing the human species were considerably low. This was the period shelter was much improved, food supply was much steady; consequently, reducing the effect of winter or prolonged droughts. According to Timiras (2007) the reason for an increased life expectancy also hinged on the improvement of medical care from witch doctors or Sherman to more empirical herbal solutions. Nonetheless, other issues such as the plague, population growth as well as the rise of economics determined life expectancy. During the ‘The Industrial Age’ life expectancy fluctuated. According to Lomborg (2017) the early years of the ‘Industrial Age’ a significant amount of people left their farmland to seek employment in the big cities; subsequently, sprawling slums as well as tough working conditions saw the rise of disease. Nonetheless, as productivity during the industrial age increased so did the life expectancy ratios. As stated by Timiras (2007) the industrial age witnessed a change in medicine as manufactured pills from medical labs replaced herbal solutions from the previous era. According to Getzen (2012), the ‘The Information Age’ saw the sharpest increase in life expectancies particularly due to the improving scientific breakthroughs in the medical field, which was more scientific than empirical.
It is from such collected data that Victoria Allen suggests that the life expectancy is expected to increase in the near future (Allen, 2017, P.np). In 2016, the world witnessed the first VR conducted surgery, which was a success (Lomborg, 2017). Such innovations in the medical field as well as other such as stem cell researchers highlight on finding solutions for chronic diseases such as cancer. Nonetheless, it is expected that other social solutions such as population control have to be developed for such life expectancies to be attained. Population growth is a significant determinant of wealth distribution as well as the quality of life. In the instance it is left unchecked, there is a likely chance that life expectancy will not grow as explained by Victoria Allen. For example, the current life expectancy is placed at 55 to 65 years, while the death rate is low such as the current rate of 7.8 per 1000 lives in the instance there is a 1% population growth it is expected that the population would double in approximately half a century or less. On the other hand, if the growth were 0.1% then it would take approximately 75 years for this to be achieved. The life expectancy in the first instance would drop, as the population would strain the ever-shrinking natural resources. During the beginning of every transitional period, the birth rate drops and according, to Timiras (2007) the decrease in birth rates is caused by tight life conditions that are experienced. For example, the transition from the agricultural age to the industrial age saw a significant population moved from the farmlands to the city consequently this dropped the birth rate. Additionally, issues such as increased illnesses in slum areas during the beginning of the industrial period also played a role in a low birthrate.
As highlighted, it is clear that the change in the health care status improves life expectancy and there is a need for government to increase their expenditure on healthcare. Currently, China spends approximately USD620 billion on health care. In 2004, this figure was placed at USD 90 billion which was 4.7 of the total GDP, 2009 this figure was USD 254.5 billion representing 5.1% of the total GDP Lomborg (2017). Consequently, the life expectancy has gone up. The US spends USD 3.2 trillion on health care. The UK spends 9.9% of its GDP, which is USD 380 billion on the NHS (Lomborg, 2017). The differences highlighted is brought about by population growth, risk assessment as well as society requirement such as improved chronic illness care such as cancer centres. Nonetheless, this difference does not mean that the US is more invested in its healthcare. For instance, as at 2006 as presented by Getzen (2012), Mexico sends a tenth of the US expenditure on health. This does not mean they are invested less in their healthcare; however, with the number of international organizations that are taking part in Mexican health care system the government spends less.
As at 2016, the US used the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 in serving its citizens. This act was based on making “health insurance work better, control the cost of medical care, and incidentally avoid social, fiscal, and political catastrophe” (Getzen, 2012). Under the PAACA insurance plans of the old will be most influenced as they are the most at risk of sickness. However, the Act has been criticized in reference to its inability to cover all individuals. For a fact, the PAACA discriminates against the rich and able giving them less cover than their much less abled counterparts. The negative effect of this is that the PAACA encourages an ‘excess growth rate’ that the CBO states may not be sustainable in the future reducing life expectancy.
Allen, V. (2017). Human life expectancy will reach 125 years old by 2070, scientists predict as lifespans continue to rise across the world. Online source retrieved from; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4647420/Human-life-expectancy-reach-125-years-old-2070.html
Getzen, T. E. (2012). Health economics and financing. Wiley Global Education. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiv5busmtjVAhUCL8AKHThvCtQQFgg7MAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsignalongnow.com%2Febooks%2Fdownload%2Fasin%3D1118184904%26type%3Dfull&usg=AFQjCNErHlWRpz-U4I7Bnu3E2FQ6q_XVsQ
Lomborg, B. (2017). The skeptical environmentalist: Measuring the real state of the world. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Neugarten, B. L., Havighurst, R. J., University of Chicago., & National Science Foundation (U.S.). (1977). Extending the human life span: Social policy and social ethics. Chicago: Committee on Human Development, University of Chicago.
Timiras, P. S. (Ed.). (2007). Physiological basis of aging and geriatrics. CRC Press.