The United States of America, one of the most powerful countries globally, still doesn’t have universal healthcare. How is that possible?
This article will briefly cover this question by providing data and supporting evidence. The pandemic has been brutal for many people because there is so much uncertainty with shortages of supplies, isolation, and anxiety. Many people are especially struggling financially. Due to Covid-19, many states in the U.S. issued lockdowns forcing many businesses to close down. This left all of those employees jobless and without employer health coverage. A survey conducted by the Commonwealth fund in October of 2020 found that approximately 14.6 million people were living without employer health coverage; this includes the dependents of the working person in the family (Buchwald). This means that 14.6 million people are at risk of going into medical debt or filing for bankruptcy due to unexpected medical expenses. According to Attorney Andrea Wimmer, “Medical debt and loss of income for medical reasons plays a role in more than 60% of personal bankruptcy filings.” Healthcare should always be a high priority, more so now, due to the pandemic. The pandemic poses a life and death situation; universal healthcare will relieve them of some stress.
There are a few common arguments that are made regarding free healthcare. People argue that we won’t get the same level of care from our doctors because the government would own everything, and there may not be any competition for who can give better quality care. There is another approach that we could take instead. We could attempt to form a healthcare system similar to the Canadian one. According to the statistics, the Canadian system could prove better than our current healthcare system.
For people who aren’t familiar with the Canadian Healthcare system, the government covers all of the basic costs. Still, according to The Washington Post, all of the “supplementary” benefits, like dental care and drug coverage, are up to each province to decide (Kliff). Socialized healthcare systems most of the time rely on revenue from things like income taxes to pay for your healthcare. This is a crucial aspect to keep in mind when discussing universal healthcare. The most important thing is, regardless of where you live in Canada, each citizen or private resident has access to prepaid medical and hospital care. Your healthcare coverage also depends on which province you live in because each province can decide how much of the supplementary costs that they want to pay for (Kliff).any healthcare providers in Canada are not government employees but are reimbursed by the government at a “negotiated fee-for-service rate” according to Sarah Kliff from The Washington Post. American Citizens can decide how they want their healthcare system to be run. However, we must remember to improve our healthcare system, even if we have to take baby steps.
People who argue against universal healthcare are right about one thing; if we implement free healthcare, taxes will inevitably go up. However, there is a more optimistic way of looking at this. Universal healthcare has proven to help people lead healthier lives. This could also possibly result in the elimination of unnecessary medications and hospital visits because we are more likely to go to the doctor knowing that it is free of cost. The American College of physicians, in addition to having universal healthcare, also wants a universal billing system, which will help to reduce the costs. They also want to use the federal funds to build an electronic health information infrastructure (Tanne).
Having the electronic health records system in place would improve the patient’s care because this system will give up-to-date information. It will be easier to access and make the process more efficient for the healthcare worker and the patient. The most crucial part is that this information will still be secure, despite being online; rigid security measures will be taken to protect the patient’s information. Their prescription will be more accurate, with lesser chances of human error. Overall, this system would reduce costs and paperwork, be more precise and efficient, and provide quality patient care.
One of the most important results of universal healthcare is decreasing societal inequality. According to the World Health Organization, “For example, in the United States of America, African Americans represent only about 13% of the population but account for almost half of all new HIV infections. There is no biological or genetic reason for these alarming differences in health.” This is a societal issue that can be fixed. Universal healthcare would mean that the majority of the population would get the same level of care, and they would all get high-quality services.
Politics also have a massive impact on healthcare and plays a primary role in how the U.S. government operates. Therefore, it can also sway people’s views on topics like healthcare. Unfortunately, with how the political system works in the U.S., your views on universal healthcare are most likely swayed by the political party you support. Social media also has an impact on this. People choose representatives to support based on their values, and they pick them because they often share the same political opinions. We must have people on both sides who support universal healthcare or some form of it. That could carry a lot of power.
In Conclusion, I believe that the United States should have universal healthcare because healthcare is a human right. Nobody should be denied healthcare because they have insufficient funds. Healthcare is one of the essential things in many households across our country. Furthermore, having free healthcare will help make our country better. People will have more money which means that home situations will improve. Parents won’t have to worry about providing their children with primary healthcare because that will be provided for them. Overall, this will help our economy grow and flourish. Everybody deserves to be taken care of, regardless of their situation.
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Buchwald, Elisabeth. “Nearly 15 Million Americans Lost Employer-Based Health Insurance. Here’s How to Get Health Coverage Again.” MarketWatch, MarketWatch, 3 Nov. 2020, www.marketwatch.com/story/nearly-15-million-americans-lost-employer-based-health-insurance-heres-how-to-get-health-coverage-again-11604407656.
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Tanne, Janice Hopkins. “US Needs Universal Access to Health Care, American College of Physicians Says.” BMJ : British Medical Journal, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd., 15 Dec. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2137072/.
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[By Anjana Krishnan, is Empower And Help Student Ambassador 2021 from North Carolina]