“Today, many American people cannot afford insurances due to poverty, immigration status, and states laws. Healthcare in United States should be Universal, without exception, for all people living in the U.S. who need the service of doctors and treatments. This universal healthcare is a right of each human being as the food and house is in their life, which will help the majority of poor people in the United States” The quote by John Mackey, CEO of whole Foods represents the concerns of millions of Americans who been advocating for a universal healthcare system in the United States of America. Over the years, the affordability and the availability of the US healthcare system has been a subject much debate. The US healthcare system is the most expensive in the world and yet millions cannot access primary healthcare. People from poor backgrounds and the uninsured cannot afford health insurance mainly because of the financial burdens (Akhter, 2003). For most employed Americans, the current healthcare system is the main contributor to the financial debts that they incur. The concept of a universal healthcare system, which is the basic guarantee of healthcare to its citizens, has been viewed as the perfect solution to the healthcare crisis in the country (Gorin & Moniz, 2004). In fact, the US is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not have a universal healthcare system. Proponents of a universal healthcare system cite the various benefits of the system such as provision of equitable care while the opponents have cited the fact that it is unsustainable and expensive. Given the rising numbers of people with the lack of health insurance in the country due to its high cost, the US should shift towards a universal healthcare system.
The current healthcare system burdens the lower and the middle-class citizens of the US. The only people that benefit from the system are the high income earners and the providers of healthcare services who earn huge profits. The socio-economic status of a population is one of the major determinants of the increase or decrease in the utilization of the health care services. People from the lower classes of the society are most unlikely to utilize healthcare services due to their expensive nature. At the moment, health insurance which determines healthcare in the United States is highly unaffordable for the people from poor backgrounds. As a result, they have few visits to the healthcare facilities and also fewer preventative and follow-up care. As a result of the high costs of health insurance, the people from the lower social classes have a high number of unmet healthcare needs and are more likely to utilize the emergency services offered by the different government hospitals and non-profit organizations. The lack of access to quality healthcare by this population has led to an increased overall morbidity and increased mortality from chronic illnesses. It has been noted that people from the poor backgrounds crowd the emergency services for primary healthcare. The universal healthcare system will increase the utilization of healthcare services by people in the lower social classes (Sin et. al, 2003). The system would also ease the burden laid on the emergency services.
With a universal healthcare system in place, the healthcare professionals would be more focused on healing the patient rather than worry about the insurance procedures. A universal healthcare system ensures that all people in the country will be covered in terms of their healthcare and hence there would be no hitches or glitches with regards to insurance procedures. The current system has seen many people being turned away from heath care facilities and failing to be treated mainly because they do not possess a health insurance cover (Sin et. al, 2003). The unemployed youth, the poor and those suffering from chronic illnesses have been the worst affected under the current health system. Although the Patient Care Act and Affordable Care Act, mostly referred to as “Obamacare” hold the promise of increasing access of healthcare services to these vulnerable groups, it will also lead to many people remaining uninsured. It would also lead to lengthy insurance procedures that may affect the quality of services being offered. The high prevalence of chronic illnesses especially among the individuals in the lower social classes can mainly be attributed to the lack of access to health care services. These patients are usually turned away from healthcare providers mainly because they cannot afford a healthcare insurance. In a system where the government guarantees health care provision to all, healthcare providers and professionals would never have to worry about the insurance procedures and the costs of offering such services. The government would play a big role in offsetting these payments. As a result, the healthcare professionals would concentrate on offering quality health services to all people which in turn would result in improving the healthcare outcomes in the country.
The universal healthcare system means that all people in the country would receive the healthcare services that they are in need of without necessarily worrying about the financial implications or suffering as a result of financial hardships. The government offers a medical insurance to all people. The people hence would be receiving medical services for “free.” When medical expenses are already covered by the government, people would be encouraged to combat any illness or any other condition that may arise. Under the system, more and more people are able to be treated from chronic illnesses like cancer that are plaguing the country. Given that the poor are normally the ones that are worst affected from chronic illnesses due to the high costs of health care, a shift towards the a universal system would lead to many of them accessing healthcare services. As a result the country would be making huge progress towards attaining better health outcomes and improving the health of its citizens. Also, measures can be taken to ensure that the factors contributing to the rise of these illnesses are identified and eliminated.
With a universal healthcare system in the country, there would be a centralized national database that provides diagnosis and treatment solutions hence making it easier for doctors and other healthcare professionals to offer services to their patients. With a single-payer system in place, it is easier to come up with a database that would document and store data related to all illnesses and problems experienced by patients. From such a database, information such as the common symptoms, treatment measures and even preventive measures can be identified and agreed upon. This would make it easier for doctors who may be handling patients with relatively new problems and illnesses. With the current healthcare system, it is sometimes difficult for the doctors to treat some illnesses simply because they are new infections or illnesses that are not normally associated with country. Hence, it becomes difficult for them to diagnose or even prescribe treatment without consulting with other doctors or medical agencies. The current system also leads to many patients, mainly those without coverage, to be referred to the high end healthcare institutions which charge higher fees. As with the universal healthcare system, healthcare services would be centralized hence enabling healthcare professionals to be able to serve a wider range of patients. Statistics can also be tabulated from the database on the various trends in the country with regards to healthcare provision and the status of health of the population.
A universal healthcare system would also provide numerous job opportunities in the healthcare industry (Sherrow, 2009). It is evident that under this system, there would be an increase in the utilization of healthcare services which include clinic visits, hospitalizations, patient care and hospitalization among others. With an increase in the demand of healthcare, there would be a shortage of healthcare professionals. Many people with qualifications in the health industry, especially the unemployed, can have an opportunity to secure an employment within the industry and cover their basic needs. There would also be the creation of new jobs in the healthcare industry such as a care coordinator and a clinical documentation specialist. The system would go a long way in solving the unemployment crisis currently facing the country.
In as much as the universal healthcare system offers a number of benefits, there are a number of drawbacks that come with it. First, it is widely known that a universal healthcare system does not mean free medication to the population. This is mainly because it is mainly funded by the taxes. Thus, it may result to higher taxes for the people and may lead to government reducing spending on a number of key projects (Selden & Gray, 2006). In countries where the universal healthcare system has been implemented, such as England, there is a growing concern with regards to the funding of the system due to the rising costs. The high costs of the system bring about the question of whether the system would be sustainable. Second is the fact that the implementation of the system would mean slower services as a result of the increase in utilization of healthcare services. People might have to wait for longer periods in order to be served as some of these healthcare institutions may be overwhelmed. Since it is evident that the healthy and more affluent individuals of the society would be catering for the old and sick under the universal healthcare system, there is also the question of whether the system would go on if these people opt out.
It has widely been speculated that the access to healthcare services is the primary determinant of the healthcare outcomes in a country (Richman & Havighurst, 2007). The American healthcare system mainly favors the affluent and the employed. Many people still lack access due to the sky-rocketing healthcare costs. It is no doubt that the adoption of a universal healthcare system would lead to all people accessing healthcare services, which is their basic right. A universal healthcare system would be very expensive for the United States, but would go a long way in increasing access to healthcare services by a majority of the people especially the poor.
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Gorin, S., & Moniz, C. (2004). National Health Line - Will the United States Ever Have Universal Health Care?. Health & Social Work, 29, 4, 340.
Richman, B. D., & Havighurst, C. C. (2007). Distributive Injustice(s) in American Health Care. Durham, N.C: Duke University, School of Law.
Selden, M. T., & Gray M.B. Tax Subsidies For EmploymentRelated Health Insurance:Estimates For 2006. Health Affairs, 25, 1569-1579.
Sin, D. D., Svenson, L. W., Cowie, R. L., & Man, S. F. P. (2003). Clinical investigations - ASTHMA - Can Universal Access to Health Care Eliminate Health Inequities Between Children of Poor and Nonpoor Families? A Case Study of Childhood Asthma in Alberta. Chest : Official Publication of the American College of Chest Physicians, 124, 1, 51.
Sherrow, V. (2009). Universal healthcare. New York: Chelsea House.