Equity is a fundamental goal of healthcare and it focuses on the funding, distribution, delivery and ease of access to healthcare facilities (Burkey et al., 2012.). Equity is an objective that most states try to achieve and value in their policymaking processes, hence an evaluation of whether equity is indeed achieved is crucial and has significant policy consequences (Getzen, 2012.). This paper examines the various equity concepts in financing, distribution and delivery of healthcare and how it can be measured.
Healthcare equity advocates for the freedom to access the highest level of health care. Evaluating healthcare fairness needs examining healthcare and its social factors between the wealthy and poor (Burkey et al., 2012.). These comparisons are important in assessing whether healthcare systems are leading towards greater social justice in healthcare
Equity in healthcare is categorized into horizontal and vertical equity (Costa & Hernandez, 2012.). Horizontal equity implies that you treat similar cases alike, whereas vertical equity suggests the provision of extra treatment to those with greater needs and less care to those with lesser needs. Horizontal equity is studied extensively in health economics and there are numerous ways of testing whether equal treatment in healthcare applies, whereas vertical equity is hardly studied (Henderson, 2012.). Administrators of health care regularly encounter decisions concerning healthcare equity, due to the need to prioritize and ultimately rationalize equitable healthcare to adhere to budget limitations (Burkey et al., 2012.). Governments have recently designed policies to enable equitable distribution of healthcare resources regardless of ones social status whether rich or poor.
Concentration curves and indexes are used to measure the distribution of health care among the wealthy and the disadvantaged(Guindo et al., 2012.). The concentration curve illustrates the total rate of the healthcare resource variable on the y-axis against the overall rate of the sample, ranked by standards of living, starting with the disadvantaged and concluding with the wealthiest represented on the x-axis (McPake et al., 2013.). Concentration curve illustrates the balance of health accounted for by cumulative proportions of people in the society ranked from poorest to wealthiest (Patel & Rushefsky, 2014.). This is illustrated in the figure below;
The concentration index directly relates to the concentration curve. Concentration index examines the inequitable level of particular variables associated with individuals level of income, which dynamically displays the impact of the variable determined by individuals income (Sommers et al., R., 2012.)
In comparison to the United States (US) healthcare system, the system in Canada has lower costs, extra services, universal health care without financial limitations, and better health care (Costa & Hernandez, 2012.)
In conclusion, healthcare equity is the lack of systematic inequities in healthcare between groups with varying income levels or social status between the wealthy and the poor. Inequities in health care systematically place people that are already disadvantaged at further deprivation with regard to their healthcare (Omrani-Khoo et al., 2013.).
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