Response to discussion post
Competition in the economy has always been known to benefit consumers. Competition can lead to lower costs in the battle to win consumers; however, there is no limit on prices when there is no competition. The Health care market is no different. Strong research evidence demonstrates that competition leads to lower prices in hospital markets. The opposite is also true. Hospitals that face less competition charge substantially higher prices (regardless of whether they are not-for-profit) (Gaynor, 2014). The federal government strongly affects the health care market, specifically the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS should focus more on a payment method that rewards better quality care while improving patient outcomes. Overall, 86 percent of total health, and hospital spending ($260 billion) was funded by state and local governments in 2018. The remaining 14 percent ($41 billion) was funded by federal grants to state and local governments (Urban Institute, n.d.). With the government involved in that much of health care and policy greatly depending on the government, it is no wonder that competing healthcare needs are often unable to be adequately managed.
Competing needs impacting mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations
The problem of staffing is the major competing need that will be continually affected by mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health care members. More specifically, the exacerbation of the healthcare worker shortage that already exists. American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack issued a statement reiterating support of hospitals implementing vaccine mandates but expressing concerns about what the federal approach could mean for facilities already grappling with staffing strain (Gooch, 2021). Pollack goes on to say, “As a practical matter, this policy may result in exacerbating the severe workforce shortage problems that currently exist. Consequently, given the critical challenges that we are facing in maintaining the resiliency of our workforce and dealing with severe shortages, which the American Nurses Association has called a national crisis, we call on the administration to work with us as partners in developing aggressive and creative strategies to address this matter to ensure that hospitals and health systems on the front lines of fighting the battle against COVID-19 have the necessary human resources to both win this battle and maintain essential health services for the patients and communities we serve.” (Gooch, 2021). It is refreshing to see that Pollack recognizes that the other resources do not matter without human resources. When it comes down to it, any health care organization must be adequately staffed to provide services. Therefore, Iâ€™m sure there must be an alternative option other than mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. However, since the government is so embedded in this issue, alternative options will likely never see the light of day.
Gaynor, M. (2014, June). Competition policy in health care markets: Navigating the enforcement and policy maze. Health Affairs, 33(6), 1088-1093.
Gooch, K. (2021, September 13). Vaccine mandates have hospitals concerned about staffing. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/vaccine-mandates-spur-staffing-worries-at-hospitals.html
Urban Institute. (n.d.). State and local finance initiative. https://www.urban.org/policy-centers/cross-center-initiatives/state-and-local-finance-initi