Whenever the issue of health care costs are discussed, many individuals do not want to equate the value of a human life with the costs associated for care. However, the reality remains that this must be part of the discussion. It is not to quantify the value of a life; the value of a life is in its quality. But it remains important to recognize that health care decisions in cost of care reflect values for society. One dollar dedicated to one aspect of care is not available for other forms of care. Health care dollars are a finite resource and must be used in the most judicious manner. In addition, many individuals do not want to pay for the full cost associated with their care. While it is true that the cost of the care is prohibitive for most Americans, Americans do not to be responsible for the costs of poor decisions.
First, young Americans do need to contribute to the health care insurance pool. Many younger Americans resent that they may be required to pay more in fees than they utilize annually. They are supplementing the higher health care costs of middle-age and older Americans. This is fair. At some point, they will become the ones who require a greater level of funding than they provide for the system. It may also encourage healthier behaviors in this group of individuals. If they begin to recognize that health care costs are exorbitant, they may choose to mitigate these outrageous costs with better health, nutrition and preventive care. Previously, they did not pay much into the system, if anything at all. Insurance needs to pool risk (Herper, 2013).
Individuals with voluntary health risks need to pay more. Many believe this is not fair. However, certain behaviors clearly increase the risks of health for individuals. Smoking is an obvious one. However, poor diet and exercise habits also increase the risk of many diseases. It can be quantified by examining body mass index (BMI) on average. There are rare exceptions which can be documented by physicians, such as thyroid issues. Individuals who do not take care of themselves need to pay for their poor decisions. It is not fair to ask others to supplement these risky behaviors (Health Affairs, 2013).