In recent years, the issue of US health care became a topic of immense debate and criticism due to the proposals of the government to provide full health care benefits to the uninsured and its possible impacts to those with regular health care. Proponents believe that it is the federal government’s duty to provide all of its citizens quality health care especially if they are unable to pay the premiums. Universal health care would also incite an upkeep of development with citizens now able to stay healthy. However, opponents stress that the government should concentrate on other pressing matters and not on health care. In the light of the attempts to introduce government-led health care, the federal government should not provide health care because it is no longer their responsibility under the constitution and would affect not just the state governments, but also for those intended to be given health care.
Health care coverage and availability has long been an issue in the United States because of the growing number of Americans who do not have access to quality services despite the country’s advancement in health care. According to the 2012 American Census, almost 48 million Americans remain uninsured as compared to the 198.8 million Americans who have private health insurance. The census also indicates that employment agencies have enabled 170.9 employees to have employment based coverage for their health benefits. The census had been long awaited by experts due to the introduction of new health care laws for the US under Barack Obama’s administration in January 2013 which aimed to target non-insured Americans . However, while the government remains determined to introduce policies to provide healthcare services for those who could not afford such services, the federal government in itself should not provide health care because of two major reasons: the legality of such action and the impact it would have to the country and its people.
First and foremost, it is not stressed in the Constitution that the federal government should utilize its powers to address the problems to health care. There is no text pertaining to “health” or “medical care” in any text of the Constitution as the Founding Fathers were most concerned in ensuring the rights of freedom and liberty of its people from the government instead of giving it power to provide services to specific rights. For centuries since the establishment of the Constitution, most of its amendments – such as the right to a jury trial, writ of habeas corpus, and the Bill of Rights (1791) - leaned on civil and political rights and not on social or economic rights of its people. Although there are already groups attempting to readdress these lapses in the constitution, it would have to pass by the Supreme Court’s review if it would be considered legal under the Constitution. The SC would also have to answer if the government is really obligated to perform these actions especially in behalf of the people who cannot afford health care and evaluate if health care legislation would affect government interest. In addition to the fact the Constitution does not have clauses for healthcare, the federal government should not provide health care as health care is not a fundamental right that they need to protect. In the example case, Maher v. Roe, the SC stated that states can refuse to provide public assistance for abortions despite allowing mothers to have the right to pick abortion. In this extent, abortion would not be considered health right. The Constitution also adds that states and the federal government itself are not obligated to pay for these medical expenses, even if it is for the needs of the poor despite the fact it is the duty of the government to meet the needs of its people .
Finally, if the government presses onwards to provide health care and not concentrate on other issues, it would have a huge impact not just to the country but also to the people that would be affected. In the state level, federal government-supported health care would create income equities for states which would disable them from funding public insurance programs and sustain the rates under Medicaid and SCHIP. States with low per capita incomes would find it hard to fund these health care programs because they would have to spend their own budget to obtain federal funding. The population of each region would also introduce inequality because of their uninsured population ratio, which may push the budget to the max capability. In the case of the public, eligibility of these government-administered health care would also be very difficult because the uninsured would only be given a minimum health coverage. These uninsured would also have issues sustaining the minimum coverage given their income capability, and the quality is still not certain if they were to use these government-supported programs . \
Citizens are entitled to have access to health care and for the Americans, this right remains debated as to the government’s role in providing such service for those with health care coverage and those with none. However, while the intentions of introducing government-supported health care has merits, the Constitution remains firm that the government is not required to do so under the law. The federal government also would cause disadvantages to the public and to the state governments that cannot match the government standard. The federal government act on improving citizen productivity to enable them to receive steady forms of income to receive quality health care rather than providing them unstable health care.
Galewitz, Phil. "48 Million Americans Remain Uninsured, Census Bureau Reports." Kaiser Health News. 17 September 2013. Web. 20 February 2014. <http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2013/september/17/census-numbers-uninsured-numbers-remain-nearly-unchanged.aspx>.
Swartz, Katherine. "Health care for the poor: For whom, what care, and whose responsibility?" Focus 26.2 (2009): 69-74.
Swendiman, Kathleen. Health Care: Constitutional Rights and Legislative Powers. CRS Report R40846. Washington, DC: US Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, 2012. Print.