In America’s increasing economic recession, many families are struggling to make ends meet. Many of them do not have the money to afford comprehensive health care through insurance providers, and an ongoing illness or devastating accident can leave entire households destitute from medical bills. Far too many people find health insurance to be too expensive to get in the first place, leaving them without protection in the event there is a problem with their health. If there were a system in place in America to combat the exorbitant costs of acquiring health care, the quality of life of many of its citizens would be improved. Even though taxes would likely increase in order to fund the coverage, a universal health care program implemented in the United States could provide the comprehensive assistance needed to help people finance their health care services.
Opponents state that, if people want health care, they should be able to get their own coverage instead of requiring a public option or a universal alternative. However, health system financing is one of the biggest hurdles people have in getting needed medical care; “many of the world’s 1.3 billion people on very low incomes still do not have access to effective and affordable drugs, surgeries and other interventions” (Carrin, 2008). Due to incredibly high prices on even the simplest medical procedures, a lot of people, particularly in low-income areas of America, are not able to access it without completely bankrupting themselves. The implementation of a universal health care system would bring about a system of prepayment, where income taxes would be allotted towards establishing insurance packages minimizing the number of out-of-pocket payments people have to make.
Opponents state that this plan, especially when using a tax-based model, would increase taxes far more than many are willing to pay. A universal health care system would work by either using a tax-based or social health insurance system (Carrin, 2008). The aforementioned tax increases would work to fund the former, while the latter would merely involve a change in insurance policy wherein a larger system would be universally adopted by all citizens. Many who already have sufficient health care plans due to their higher income will not want to be forced to settle for something that they may deem inferior.
The opposition is of the opinion that individuals should not receive healthcare they cannot afford, and as such do not desire a plan where they will have to shoulder the burden of the less fortunate. Of course, with a universal health care system, rates across the board would decrease, so it is possible for these same people to get the same quality of health care for a lesser price. A citizen could buy into the universal health care plan, creating a larger pool of insurance that would follow a Medicare-based model. With this model, prices could be reduced, and the quality of care could be increased due to the need for greater competition among providers (Hacker, 2007).
Opponents are also concerned about how quickly the American health care system could move from its private health care system to a universal one. The changes would require a dramatic reshifting of existing health care plans, reprioritization of resources, and an addressing of the shortages in medical personnel. If everyone is given access to specialized health care, there would have to be many more specialists trained and created to meet the new, greater demand for those services. However, these changes are necessary in order to give everyone
Provided that we make the assumption that a country should take responsibility for the wellbeing of its citizens, the need for a universal health care system is paramount. The operation of hospitals and health insurance policies by private companies leads to bottlenecking of resources and a gross negligence for the needs of those with lower incomes. In fact, private companies can profit from a universal health care plan, as it provides them with a more affordable option to sign their workers on when they sign through the company. In short, a universal health care plan would offer lower prices and greater affordability for the citizens of America, many of whom desperately need a way to maintain their health without losing everything they have.
Carrin, Guy, Inke Mathauer, Ke Xu, and David Evans. "Universal coverage of health services: tailoring its implementation." Bulletin of the World Health Organization 86.11 (2008): 857-863. Print.
Hacker, Jacob. "Health Care for America: A proposal for guaranteed, affordable health care for all Americans building on Medicare and employment-based insurance." Economic Policy Institute 180 (2007): 1-11. Economic Policy Institute. Web. 1 May 2011.