Should obese people pay more for medical treatment Obesity is an incredibly expensive disease, both for the patients and the hospitals. Aside from being a disease which is associated with many further complications and problems, which themselves lead to an increased cost, this disease also requires costly medication and specialised equipment for diagnosis and treatment. This results in a condition which has proven extremely costly to nearly all parties involved. It has been reported that Â£47 million was spent purely on anti-obesity drugs in the fiscal year of 06 to 07.1 This figure, coupled with the fact that the prevalence of adult obesity in the U.K. is above 20 per cent and set to rise10, signifies the incredible cost associated with this disease and, in turn, highlights the growing problem of obesity on a social and economic scale. Its a problem that cant be ignored, and throughout the course of this paper I will attempt to weigh and evaluate both sides of the argument; Should obese people pay more for medical treatment?, in order to find a resolution. First, before jumping in to the crux of the question, it is imperative to establish the importance of the NHS as well as its core principles, in order to allow a fully in-depth analysis of the question at hand. The NHS, which is the primary healthcare provider in Great Britain, was set up in 1948 with one of its key principles being; the health service will be available to all and financed entirely from taxation, which means that people pay into it according to their means.2 It is important to stress the word all in the sentence. This word refers to the nation as a whole, regardless of their medical condition. The importance of the NHS clearly cant be stated enough, a nationwide health service which aims to treat all without directly taking money from the patients, is vital to maintaining the infrastructure of the country. It would seem then that the very nature of this question would oppose the core principles established in the set-up of the NHS, however in the recent light of the current economic situation and even proposed budget cuts3, the question raised could one day become a reality. It is important to first define and explain obesity ahead of tackling the ethical dilemma which is the title of this paper. One definition would simply be too much body fat on an individual, while this is somewhat accurate, it is also incredibly basic and not at all scientific. The BMI (body mass index) measurement is one of the most straightforward and useful techniques to establish the condition of obesity. The BMI is calculated by correlating a relationship between the height and weight of an individual, it is used by many organisations around the world such as WHO and NHS. The formula for calculating the BMI is: The results gained from the BMI can be classified in table 1 in order to specify the particular weight class of an individual. Classification BMI (kg/m2) Principal cut-off points Additional cut-off points Underweight Severe thinness Moderate thinness 16.00 16.99 16.00 16.99 Mild thinness 17.00 18.49 17.00 18.49 Normal range 18.50 24.99 18.50 22.99 23.00 24.99 Overweight Ã¢â€°Â¥25.00 Ã¢â€°Â¥25.00 Pre-obese 25.00 29.99 25.00 27.49 27.50 29.99 Obese Ã¢â€°Â¥30.00 Ã¢â€°Â¥30.00 Obese class I 30.00 34.99 30.00 32.49 32.50 34.99 Obese class II 35.00 39.99 35.00 37.49 37.50 39.99 Obese class III Ã¢â€°Â¥40.00 Ã¢â€°Â¥40.00 Table 1. adapted from WHO While the use of the body mass index to calculate a persons weight class is used worldwide it has a fair number of shortcomings and flaws. For instance, this table of classification for BMI is not gender specific, so it is applied the same for both males and females equally, as well as this, it also doesnt account for weight distribution in individuals nor is it possible to consider bone or muscle mass, both of which are heavier than fat. These problems will hold more significance later in this essay while discussing how obesity should be defined. Obesity is caused by a variety of different factors. These include genetic susceptibility, socio-environmental factors, malfunctioning appetite regulation or may also be a cause of other diseases, such as Cushings syndrome.7 While it was previously thought that obesity was caused by a lack of willpower or a lifestyle choice, more recent studies have discovered that obesity is a chronic disease, involving a number of different biochemical and metabolic processes compared to individuals who arent obese.8 As stated previously, obesity is linked to many more serious health conditions and illnesses. Examples of these include diabetes mellitus, increased cholesterol, coronary heart disease and hypertension amongst many others.7 It is important to discuss the seriousness of these resulting conditions in order to fully comprehend the fatality of obesity. Diabetes mellitus (otherwise known as type II diabetes) is a serious condition which occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not properly react to the insulin produced. This condition is said to affect approximately 2 million people across England and Wales, supposedly with a further 750, 000 unaware that they have this condition.4 Type II diabetes can also lead to kidney disease, nerve damage or even strokes. Coronary heart disease is another serious condition which can be caused because of obesity, which affects almost 300, 000 people a year in the U.K.11 There are multiple actions that can be taken in an attempt to treat or cure obesity. These include dietary therapy in order to regulate the number of calories taken in by an individual, and to maintain that over a long-term period. Other methods which may be used in conjunction with this may be increased exercise, to burn off calories, weight loss surgery, such as gastric band surgery or possibly drug therapy, which is often used as a last resort. It should be noted that not one of these methods are able to fully treat obesity alone, instead they must be used in unison depending on the severity of the disease and also the individuals diagnosed with them. It apparent that obesity is an incredibly complicated disease in terms of the causes, secondary factors and treatments, all of which contribute towards a confusion regarding the nature of obesity in the minds of the public as well as upping the cost due its many treatment techniques, none of which can be considered 100 per cent effective. This encompasses all of the aspects of the disease, which is often described as an epidemic, as its a growing concern, and the economic burden attached is sure to evoke strong opinions regarding the question of this paper. Now that the importance of the health care system has been established and the medical significance of obesity has been recognised, the essay question itself can be discussed. The initial views on this topic are polarising, with some instantly believing that the obese should pay more for the disease that theyve inflicted upon themselves, believing that it is unfair that the rest of the nation should pay the cost. Others believe that they shouldnt pay the financial cost, stating that the NHS was set up to help all, despite whether or not their condition is self caused. The argument can even be pushed further, extrapolating that smokers, drinkers and even athletes would also have to pay for the medical costs for their diseases or injuries, because, by that same logic, these conditions are also self inflicted. Although there are certainly some truths to be had in these two contrasting opinions, the two sides of the argument will be investigated and examined on the grounds of ethicality, societal and fairness in an attempt to bring about some form of a resolve on this controversial topic. One of the primary factors for the argument for obese people having to finance the treatment of their medical condition is that the disease they are burdened with is self inflicted, which is to say that they literally brought it on themselves, so should therefore have to deal with the consequences. While there is some validity in this argument, it isnt quite as black and white as it may initially sound, with many further complexities set to arise. Those that oppose this argument, are likely to call discrimination, as this ideology that separates a certain type of people from the rest and forces them pay more, which is highly unjust. Also, by this same reasoning, and in the issue of fairness, other patients with self inflicted disease should also have to pay more for conditions and illnesses which they have brought upon themselves. Such conditions would include lung cancer for smokers, liver disease for those who drink as well as injuries to sports players and athletes, as these are all, to some degree, self inflicted. A counter point to this counter point would be that smokers and drinkers already pay more through an increased tax for the drugs (i.e. cigarettes and alcohol) which lead to the individual diseases, so an alternative, or possibly in addition, to forcing obesity patients to have to pay for medical treatments would be to raise the tax on foods with an increased calorie count. This may also be used to deter away from choosing these unhealthy foods as well as generate income from those who cost the NHS so much money in its treatment for obesity. However, this would result that members in the public that fall in to the normal weight range would also have to pay the increased tax for these same foods, if they choose to occasionally indulge. This, at first glance, seems like a fair compromise, as smokers who dont cost the NHS with treatment for smoking related disease still have to pay the tax on cigarettes, however, the idea comes full circle that people who arent obese are still having to pay lifestyles of the obese, indirect as it may be, which is one of the main points evoking the question at hand. There is evidence to suggest that those who are obese are also more likely to be in lower paid jobs, and as such, have less expendable income. This may be because those with lower income are more likely to live in poorer areas and where healthier, more nutritious foods arent as readily available or outside of their budget. This may also be due to a discrimination present against people who are obese and overweight. Employers may be more likely to hire those who arent overweight as they see their ability to resist overeating or staying in shape as a good quality in what Acs, Lyles and Stanton (2007) describe as a willingness to delay gratification. Whatever the reason may be for the correlation between being overweight and having lower income, the fact remains that the lack of capital possessed by the obese population would prove to be incredibly troublesome if obese people were to finance their medical treatment in this manner. The case for increasing the tax of unhealthy foods may be less applicable as it may push both healthy foods and unhealthy foods out of reach for poorer and obese population financially. To overcome this, healthier foods have to be made cheaper and more widespread, which may again be difficult given the nature to produce healthier and organic foods are likely to cost more. Even so, it would seem any loss made would surely help the NHS spend less on obesity, which, in the 2007, was estimated at Â£4.2 billion.6 The basis for this particular argument is on essentially boils down to the thought that obese people are obese solely because of their own doings, which many people believe to be an accurate portrayal of reality. However, this statement by no means holds true to the complete population of obese people. There is a genetic link associated with obesity, with the inheritable risk of obesity thought to be approximately 30%.7 Many genes have been found that code for weight control hormones, and a defect in these genes may be passed on the offspring, thereby increasing the chance of obesity in that child.5 This would bring about many more questions and dilemmas concerning the topic at hand. For instance, what if the cause for obesity was mainly genetic as opposed to being environmental? Should the patient still pay more even though, by definition, this type of obesity isnt necessarily self-inflicted? Some may answer this question by stating that those with genetic factors shouldnt pay, however, what if both social and biological factors play an equal role in the cause of an individuals obesity? Or, further expanding on the idea that those found to have the genetic link shouldnt pay, how would the obesity genes be examined in the patient? Genetic testing may be carried out, but performing these tests on the entire to obese population in order to determine who should pay these costs would itself be costly, therefore being counter-productive where one of the primary aims of the question raised is to cut back on money being spent. There are also further complications regarding this wide held belief that obesity is self-inflicted. Are cases where individuals are driven to high calorie, comfort foods because of bullying or depression, be considered self-inflicted? Also, who should pay the cost for cases of childhood obesity? While some may point the fingers at the parents, one would have to ask if that is at all fair. For instance, parents arent sentenced for the crimes that their children commit. Evidence exists which associates an addiction to eating (as well as other addictions) with mental illnesses.9 Should these cases also have to pay for medical treatment themselves? By this same merit should schizophrenics and patients with other mental conditions have to finance their treatment? There are a host of other problems and issues which are presented if this question is to be seriously considered. The question of affordability and practicality surely arises when applying the theoretical question to a real-world scenario. If obese patients were to pay directly for their medication, surgery or weight-loss programs then how much should be charged? It would surely have to be a fairly significant amount as the cost of obesity itself is already at an extremely costly figure.6 Having to pay for medical treatment may create a divide between patients who can and cant afford the costs, possibly adding another level of discrimination. And what if patients are unable to meet the expense of these bills? Should they be denied treatment? Anything beyond entertaining this idea would bring about huge moral dilemmas, as the hospitals would essentially be playing God, deciding who lives and dies, based purely on their financial background. Also, the practicality of such a situation is likely to bring up further complications, with one question being; how should it be charged? The NHS wasnt set up to accept payments in this particular manner, so how could this be accomplished? Would the patients need to pay before their medication or surgery? If so, and the patient does not pay, it will again bring up the concept of denying treatment to patients. There is also the possibility that patients would pay post-surgery. But if they refuse to pay or cant afford it, then some form of policing body would need to be enforced to ensure these payments are made. While this will cost more money, again a problem given the nature of the question is to decrease the money spent, it also sends out an image of the NHS reminiscent of some sort of mobster loan shark. Another issue when considering this subject is the concept of defining obesity. Earlier I have stated the use of the BMI system to define obesity the world over, as well as outlining its fundamental flaws. A concern with defining obesity with the use of the BMI scale is that the differences between being classified as overweight or obese may literally be a few inches in height or a few kilograms in weight. This may very well create scenarios where a person may be a few inches shorter than another who is the same weight having to pay more for treatment. This could possibly be countered by measuring obesity by more methods than simply BMI alone, which is currently in place to diagnose obesity by the NHS. Other methodologies may also have to be in place in order to diagnose or differentiate between different classes of obesity. These could possibly include calculating the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), Waist circumference (WCR) and Skinfold thickness.7 together these allows for a more accurate representation of a patients physical status, allowing to charge for medical treatment accordingly, if that path were to be taken. It is clear that any attempt to find a solution to this question brings up series of arguments and counter points which negate and nullify each other, and instead of establishing a concrete plan of action, it would seem that the wisest and safest bet would be to sit on the fence. My personal opinion on the matter would be to increase the tax of unhealthy foods and make healthier foods readily available and at an affordable price as well as pushing for a more active lifestyle, something akin to the change4life scheme recently set up by the government. Though this isnt without flaws, it certainly seems to reach a form of middle ground in term of ethics and equality. One of the main aims of the NHS was to treat all patients who pay tax, so forcing a section of people to pay more, regardless of whether or not the condition is self inflicted, opposes its key ideologies as well as being highly discriminatory. My proposed plan of action is certainly more subdued and the benefits of which would only be realised after a longer period of time, however, it strikes a fair balance between staying true to the NHS philosophy, equality for all an attempt to treat obesity and healthy lifestyle. The report should be similar in overall style to the topic discussed in Nelsons Issue II (Human Organ Transplantation) above. Another example for style could be a Scientific American article (e.g. How breast milk protects newborn (December, 1995) by J. Newman, pp58-61). The essay should cover the basic science, including recent developments and ongoing research, but should focus on examination of the ethical, social and legal issues related to the topic. 1.More than a million anti-obesity prescriptions were issued in England in the last financial year at a cost of Â£47million. It means about 88,000 people could be on a course of treatment. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23406735-pills-not-the-answer-to-obesity-says-top-doctor.do 2. http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/nhshistory/Pages/NHShistory1948.aspx 3. http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/nhshistory/Pages/NHShistory1948.aspx http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8012588.stm 4. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes-type2/Pages/Introduction.aspx 5. Bouchard 1994 6. http://www.healthcarerepublic.com/news/934442/Cost-obesity-NHS-England-rise-62-billion/ AcsÂ : 9781845425005 , obesity, business and public policy. 7. Tomlinson 8. brock 9. truth mental illness: 9780757301070 10. http://www.who.int/infobase/report.aspx?rid=118iso=GBRDef_Code=cd.0701Survey_Year_End=2005genGraphButton=Generate+Graph 11. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Coronary-heart-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx?url=Pages/What-is-it.aspx red: expand blue: unsure
Â Â Â Â Â If a survey were being done on how people experience cyberspace, one
would immediately notice that no two answers would be the same. Experiencing
cyberspace is something that is different for every individual. I myself
experience cyberspace psychologically, I experience it in my mind. There have
been many attempts at trying to define the abstruse term, but up to date, no one
has pinned the tail on the donkey. There cannot be one solid definition for a
word that possesses so many meanings. I personally associate the word
cyberspace with the idea of being able to travel to distant places without ever
leaving my chair. Obviously, I know that there is no possible way of visiting
different places or countries via my home computer, but in my mind, when I see
the location that I am connected to, it feel as though a part of me is there.
The best part is that I can switch from scenario to scenario without having to
travel any ground. I do not feel a sense of distance or location, except when it
takes a prolonged amount of time to connect to a host. When I travel from place
to place (site to site), I do not cover any known physical distances, but
instead I cover visual distance. Just as many people do, I refer to the places
that I visit as virtual worlds. I like calling them this because I never
actually get to see the reality of the "world". I only get to see it
electronically and digitally. The feeling that I experience while in cyberspace
is knowing that I possess the power to visit any where I want. When I click
one of the buttons on the mouse, or what I refer to as a transporter, I feel as
though all the power in the world rests at the end of my fingertips. I am in my
own sort of fantasy land. Once I land in a desired location, or website, I
have the opportunity to click on pictures and words that take me to new worlds.
These pictures and words have the power to make my virtual tour even more
pleasing by introducing me to new and exciting things. People have referred to
experiences in cyberspace, experiences such as mine, as a basic extension of the
mind. I definitely agree with this statement. I believe that it takes
imagination and creativity to experience all of the things that cyberspace has
to offer. With all the colors, strange text and mind-boggling graphics,
cyberspace is something that everyone must experience on their own.
How can the challenges for business start-ups in China be overcome - Essay Example
It is evident from the study that there are many challenges that start up businesses would face in China which include complexities within the political, economic, social cultural and technological factors of the business environment in this country. The complexity theory in the practice of business management demonstrates that chaos within the business environment that challenges entrepreneurs especially for starting businesses. To ensure that a start up business grows and thrives in the China, entrepreneurs must put in consideration all the challenging factors in decision making. According to Alexandru and Gabriela, entrepreneurs who plan to venture into doing business in China should be aware of the challenges which are likely to be faced in the Chinese society and their implication on the success of the business venture. Lowe & Marriott add that the social factor and the culture of the Chinese people is a very strong force in determining the performance of a business especially ventures by foreign investors. The political factors in addition to economic environment are apparent determinants of the success of a business within this country. China is one of the leading technological innovators in the world and modern technology and computer applications and systems are being applied in business functions within the country and therefore the technology factor is most likely to influence the success of a business venture in the country as explained by. ...
43). The challenges that starting business in China are many and therefore entrepreneurs should be prepared head on if their businesses are to grow. The complexity theory describes a business startup as one which is faced with chaos and many external factors which are determinants of the survival of a business investment. CRITICAL EVALUATION AND ANALYSIS OF THE SITUATION Cultural and Language Barriers Bergsten (2008) asserts that there are cultural and language barriers which would be very challenging to entrepreneurs wishing to start business in this country. Foreigners who plan to start business in China will certainly have difficulties during business negotiations due to language barrier (Chen & Miller, 2011). It would be appropriate therefore for entrepreneurs who start businesses in China to learn basic Chinese which would be adequate for business communications. Additionally, starting up a business in China will mean that the entrepreneurs leans basic social communication skills so that the relationship with local employees or business partners would be enhanced. Chandra & Chao (2011, p. 55) say that the Chinese culture is very old and complex and may challenge entrepreneurs who plan to start business in this society. The culture of the Chinese will influence the ability of an entrepreneur of building business relationships. Therefore, entrepreneurs should learn about the Chinese culture to ensure that they do not violate it which would impact negatively on the business as demonstrated by Isenberg (2008, p. 107). The complexities of language and culture affect issues such as greetings, gender roles, leadership and business management which are congruent
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.