A universal health care is a system whereby the nation provides all citizens with health care services through the taxes they pay. This is viewed as a social health protection where people do not pay for the bills, but the government caters for them through the tax it collects. This system has been employed in different countries such as France and Germany where it has been successful despite few challenges experienced (Taws). Currently, the Commonwealth ranks the health care system of the United States of America as weak compared to other nations with healthy economies. The question of whether or not the U.S. should implement a universal health care system has become a debate topic. The most salient issue to understand is that nearly 50 million citizens are currently without health insurance and those with it are still struggling to pay their bills (Berry). Many people feel that the healthcare situation of the citizens in the U.S. is in a total mess and as a result, they have offered different solutions to the challenges in the sector. The countries where universal healthcare has been implemented face many challenges hence the question remains, “should the United States implement a universal health care system?”
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I oppose the implementation of the universal health care system in the USA because of many reasons. To begin with, it is necessary to understand that countries are different in terms of development, culture, and demographics among other factors. Countries with a well-developed universal health care took many decades to achieve the system. This is evident in the case of Germany where a universal health care system was introduced during times of Otto Von Bismarck, but it became effective many years later (Sherry 13). There are many changes that have to take place for a universal health care system to become effective. This means that if the system is employed in the U.S. it may take long before it becomes successful. This is contrary to the current situation in the nation as many of the ailments need to be solved urgently. In addition, there are many other issues that the government has prioritized such as unemployment; thus it may take long for the government to shift its goals.
Universal health care calls for increased taxes and higher spending than the current situation. Such a system will demand the government employs additional doctors and builds more and better health care facilities than the current capacity (Berry). The doctors will move from the private sector to the public sector hence the government will be forced to increase taxes to pay for the additional doctors. For instance, a person who earns $3000 will pay additional $300 per month if the state increases their tax by 5%. If this amount is computed for a year, it can cater for a two year private insurance fee. For this reason, it is fair that the government should avoid increasing the tax and leave citizens to pay their own healthcare bills.
Currently, hospital bills and private medical costs are ever increasing and putting excessive pressure on existing facilities. Consequently, many families are spending beyond their capability, and facilities have become inadequate. There are also other families that have opted to withdraw treatments because they cannot afford to meet the cost. This is evident from the high number of cancer patients who are not under any treatments. This does not, however, mean that the U.S. government does not have pragmatic and long-term solutions to such problems. Although, people may say that this situation is out of government’s control, it has the power to control it as witnessed in the past with anti-trust bill, federal oversight of building code, and federal approval of drugs (Berry). This are some methods that the government has used decrease hospital bills and private medical costs rather that certainly controlling the health care system to help the sick. There are many instant solutions to the health care problems as used in different countries other than universal system. In addition, measures like federal investment insurance, cost caps, and partially subsidized insurance will serve to address immediate needs and problems (Taws). On the other hand, a universal health care system will take decades to address the challenges.
Another crucial reason in opposition of the universal healthcare system is the fact that the health of people is more personal rather than an issue of the government or its doctors. People understand their own health more than the government and its highly-trained doctors. When a universal health care system is implemented in the country, it will make some people miss treatments because they believe in the privacy of their health affairs. They may not be willing to obtain medical attention from public hospitals where the government will have control over the services they receive. In addition, with a universal health care the government will determine the quality and services that a patient will receive since it will settle the bill. Sherry (19) explains that many people prefer private medical insurances because they will still have their freedom. The government should develop ways, therefore, of controlling private health insurance rather than implementing a universal health care system.
It is clear from many countries including the U.S. itself that systems slow down when the government takes over control. Issues like unemployment have taken decades to be addressed in such developed economies that are expected to be role models to the developing nations. This will be the case when the government takes charge of the health care system as it is in Canada where patients have to wait to get vital medical attention and surgeries for long (Tomasky; Berry). Furthermore, statistics indicate that, in Canada, there are more than 800,000 patients on waiting lists and procedures, a number which is close to Britain’s 850,000. There are many people who die while waiting for medical attention. This shows that the quality of services diminishes with federalization. Private systems facilitate quick delivery of such services since the private health care providers are in competition and want to make more profits. Each of them, therefore, tries to build a differential advantage and a repetitive brand image, which is usually beneficial to the customers. This would be negligence of the capitalistic principles that have helped the economy of the country to grow and have an outstanding health care for all citizens (Taws). It would be unnecessary to sacrifice such a robust system with a few glitches for a complete failure.
With a universal health care, competition in the health care sector would diminish. Without competition in such a capitalist economy, there would no innovation. Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology are among the fastest growing industries in the USA because of the stiff competition that has led to innovation. A universal health care will be run by the government and any breakthrough will be shared by all stakeholders. It is also clear that this move will decrease investment in the industry as private firms may register low profits. This is one of the industries that have helped the economy to grow and any interference may slow the rate of the country’s economic growth. Studies indicate that compared to other developed countries with universal health coverage, America has a high GDP (Taws).
Cases of medical specialists sending patients with funds to private health care providers are common in countries with universal health coverage. This contravenes the view of proposers that the services in private healthcare are of low quality in order to minimize spending and maximize profits. This point has been misunderstood because if the private hospitals would be offering low quality services no doctors would refer patients from public to private hospitals (Berry). As a result, many citizens in such countries prefer to obtain a private health insurance and access quality health care. The situation will not be different in United States, and it may even be worse than in other countries since many people have put much trust on private healthcare providers. In addition, a research that was carried out in the concerning this issue predicted that the health care system will be worse with implementation of the universal health care system in the country (Tomasky).
It is also understandable that a universal health care will benefit the government more than the American citizens. Experts point out that the universal health care will only serve the middle class. The wealthy will opt to get medical attention from superior private hospitals and other countries rather than getting public health services (Tomasky). The same people will still have paid tax for medication, but they will not use access. The government will, therefore, save more money than before at the expense of the potential taxpayers. In addition, there is a likelihood of confusion arising in the quality of services offered to different people. This is because if the tax rate remains constant, those who are highly paid will pay more taxes than other employees. Does this mean that they will receive better medical attention than other people? For instance, will the president of the country receive the same medical services as any other locals? This will not be pragmatic, and it will just result to chaos in the health care sector. It is also notable that when the government realizes that it is overspending, it will develop co pays. This has been done in countries with universal health care systems such as France and Canada (Berry). The situation becomes a challenge to the middle class as they will have to incur increased costs to cater for some services such as outpatient services. A system that does not fairly serve all the citizens is unhealthy for the nation.
In conclusion, a universal health care system would be unfit for the U.S. The government and the proponents can view this from the case of countries that have employed this system. France, Germany and Canada for instance, are excellent examples that have encountered many challenges in implementing the system. The United States has one of the healthiest economies in the world, and this means that people who are surviving below the poverty line are minimal. Consequently, many people in the country are able to cater for the own health needs and avoid dependency on the government. The legislature should set up better programs, therefore, to help those who are not in a position to cater for their health needs. An alternative approach would be enhancing health care related programs such as Medicaid (Sherry 34). Judging from this measure, the government has, therefore, substantial and immediate solutions to the ailments facing health care sector in the country rather than developing a universal health care. The citizens should change their attitude, therefore, and start viewing health care as a service rather than as a right. Currently, the USA public debt is more than $16 trillion and financing such a massive program will only increase the country’s borrowing.
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