Consider the health care issue that you identified in the Week 2 activity and address each of the following in a 3-4 page Word document:
Explain how economic principles can be applied to this issue to effectively guide decision making.
Demonstrate how supply and demand curves are used to accurately assess the issue.
Analyze how the cost curve can be used to assess the issue. Provide an example.
Compare capitation, fee for service, and pay-for-performance financing payment models to accurately reveal their similarities and differences.
Use at least three sources to support your writing. Choose sources that are credible, relevant, and appropriate. Cite each source listed on your source page at least one time within your assignment. For help with research, writing, and citation, access the library or review library guides.
This course requires the use of Strayer Writing Standards (SWS). The library is your home for SWS assistance, including citations and formatting. Please refer to the Library site for all support. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
The specific course learning outcome associated with this assignment is:
Analyze health care issues using economic decision-making principles.
Evaluate health care cost and efficiency issues using economic tools.
Expert Solution Preview
The health care issue that will be addressed in this assignment is the rising cost of prescription drugs in the United States. Prescription drug prices have been continuously increasing, causing financial burden for both individuals and the healthcare system as a whole. This assignment aims to apply economic principles to this issue and provide a comprehensive analysis of the factors contributing to the rising cost of prescription drugs.
Answer 1: Economic Principles and Decision Making
Economic principles can be effectively applied to the issue of rising prescription drug prices in order to guide decision making. One key economic principle that can be applied is the concept of supply and demand. The pharmaceutical industry operates in a market where the demand for prescription drugs is influenced by various factors such as population demographics, prevalence of diseases, and advancements in medical treatments. By analyzing the supply and demand curves for prescription drugs, policymakers and healthcare providers can better understand the factors that contribute to price fluctuations. For example, if the demand for a particular drug is high and the supply is limited, the price of the drug is likely to increase. This understanding can help decision makers in setting price controls or negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies to ensure affordable access to medication.
Another economic principle that can be applied is cost-benefit analysis. This principle involves weighing the costs and benefits of different interventions or policies. In the context of prescription drug prices, decision makers can assess the costs of various factors such as research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. Simultaneously, they can evaluate the benefits of the drugs in terms of improved health outcomes, reduced hospitalizations, and overall societal well-being. This cost-benefit analysis can inform decisions regarding price regulation, generic drug promotion, or investment in research and development.
Answer 2: Supply and Demand Curves
Supply and demand curves are essential tools for accurately assessing the issue of rising prescription drug prices. The demand curve represents the relationship between the price of a drug and the quantity demanded by consumers. As the price increases, the quantity demanded decreases, and vice versa. Understanding the demand curve helps policymakers identify the price points at which consumers are willing to pay for prescription drugs. Additionally, it provides insights into the price elasticity of demand, which measures the responsiveness of consumer demand to changes in price. This information can help policymakers determine the impact of price changes on consumer behavior and make informed decisions about pricing strategies.
On the other hand, the supply curve represents the relationship between the price of a drug and the quantity supplied by pharmaceutical companies. As the price increases, the quantity supplied also increases, reflecting the profit motive of suppliers. Understanding the supply curve helps policymakers identify the factors that influence the pricing decisions of pharmaceutical companies. For example, if the production costs of a drug are low, but the price remains high, it indicates a potential market failure that requires intervention. By analyzing these curves, decision makers can identify market imbalances and take appropriate actions to ensure drug prices are aligned with supply and demand dynamics.
Answer 3: Cost Curve Analysis
The cost curve is a useful tool for assessing the issue of rising prescription drug prices. The cost curve represents the relationship between the quantity of drugs produced and the average cost of production per unit. This analysis is significant as it helps policymakers understand the cost structure of pharmaceutical companies and identify the factors that contribute to price escalation.
For example, if the cost curve shows a significant increase in average production costs as the quantity produced increases, it indicates economies of scale are not being realized. This may highlight inefficiencies in the manufacturing process or the lack of competition. By analyzing the cost curve, decision makers can identify cost-saving opportunities such as promoting generic drugs, encouraging bulk purchasing, or implementing policies that foster competition and reduce manufacturing costs. Overall, the cost curve analysis provides valuable insights into the cost drivers of prescription drugs, enabling decision makers to address the issue of rising prices effectively.
Answer 4: Financing Payment Models – Capitation, Fee for Service, and Pay-for-Performance
Capitation, fee for service (FFS), and pay-for-performance (P4P) are financing payment models commonly used in healthcare. These models differ in their approach to reimbursing healthcare providers and have implications for cost containment and quality of care.
Capitation is a payment model where healthcare providers receive a fixed amount per patient per unit of time, regardless of the services provided. This model incentivizes providers to deliver cost-effective care and can encourage preventive measures. By allocating a fixed budget for a population, capitation can help control healthcare spending and promote efficiency. However, it may also pose a risk of underprovision of care if the fixed payment does not adequately cover the population’s needs.
Fee for service is a payment model where healthcare providers are reimbursed for each service or procedure they perform. This model provides a transparent payment system and allows providers to be paid based on the quantity of services delivered. While FFS can incentivize providers to deliver more services, it also has the potential to drive up healthcare costs as there is no direct link between payment and patient outcomes. It can result in overutilization of services and lack of focus on preventive care.
Pay-for-performance is a payment model that links reimbursement to quality measures and patient outcomes. Providers are incentivized to achieve specific performance targets and are rewarded based on their performance. This model aims to improve healthcare quality and efficiency by rewarding providers for positive patient outcomes. However, there are concerns about the feasibility and accuracy of assessing and measuring performance accurately. Additionally, pay-for-performance may inadvertently lead to cherry-picking patients or focusing on specific performance measures at the expense of overall patient care.
In conclusion, capitation, fee for service, and pay-for-performance are different financing payment models with distinct characteristics. Each model has its own strengths and weaknesses, and a comprehensive evaluation is necessary to understand their appropriate application in different healthcare settings. A combination of these models, along with appropriate regulation and monitoring, can help optimize cost containment and quality of care in addressing the issue of rising prescription drug prices.