Universal Health Care

Should the United States introduce a universal health care system?

Universal Health Care
Yes because...

With universal health care, people are able to seek preventive treatment. This means having tests a...

With universal health care, people are able to seek preventive treatment. This means having tests and check-ups before they feel ill, so that condidtions can be picked up in their early stages when they are easy to treat. For example in a recent study 70% of women with health insurance knew their cholestrol level, while only 50% of uninsured women did. In the end, people who do not get preventive health care will get treatment only when their disease is more advanced. As a result their care will cost more and the outcomes are likely to be much worse.

No because...

Universal health care will cause people to use the health care system more. If they are covered, they will go to the doctor when they do not really need to, and will become heavy users of the system. We can see in other countries that this heavier use leads to delays in treatment and constant demands for more resources. As a result care is rationed and taxes keep going up.

Universal Health Care
Yes because...

American health insurance payments are very high and rising rapidly. Even employer-subsidised progr...

American health insurance payments are very high and rising rapidly. Even employer-subsidised programs are very expensive for many Americans, because they often require co-payments or high deductibles (payment for the first part of any treatment). In any case employee health benefits are being withdrawn by many companies. For those without insurance, a relatively minor illness or injury can be a financial disaster. It is unfair that many ordinary hard-working Americans can no longer afford decent medical treatment.

No because...

A range of health programs are already available. Many employers offer health insurance and some people deliberately choose to work for such companies for these benefits, even if the pay is a little lower. Other plans can be purchased by individuals with no need to rely on an employer. This means they are free to choose the level of care which is most appropriate to their needs. For other people it can be perfectly reasonable to decide to go without health insurance. Healthy younger adults will on average save money by choosing not to pay high insurance premiums, covering any necessary treatment out of their own pockets from time to time. Why should the state take away all these people’s freedom of choice by imposing a one-size-fits-all socialist system of health care?

Universal Health Care
Yes because...

Partial plans like Medicare and Medicaid cover only individuals in certain categories (the young, th...

Partial plans like Medicare and Medicaid cover only individuals in certain categories (the young, the old, the very poor and veterans). Such systems will never provide truly universal coverage. Even the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which was meant to give more children the benefits of health insurance, has not been very successful. Since CHIP was put in place, the number of uninsured children has gone up. Instead we need a proper government-funded universal health care system.

No because...

Partial plans provide a safety net for vulnerable groups who are not in a position to make choices about their health care. Low-income individuals qualify for Medicaid and seniors qualify for Medicare. Many children benefit from the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But for most people, health insurance is a necessity for which they should budget, taking responsibility for their own lives and futures. The government is not expected to provide necessities such as food or housing on a universal basis, so why should it provide universal health care?

Universal Health Care
Yes because...

The current system of health maintenance organisations (HMOs) has destroyed the doctor-patient relat...

The current system of health maintenance organisations (HMOs) has destroyed the doctor-patient relationship and removed patients’ ability to choose between health care providers. Patients find that their doctors are not on their new plan and are forced to leave doctors with whom they have established a trusting relationship. Also, patients must get approval to see specialists and then are allowed to see only selected doctors. Doctors usually can’t spend enough time with patients in the HMO plans. By contrast a universal health system would give patients many more choices.

No because...

With government control of all health care, caps will be placed on costs. As a result many doctors would not be rewarded for their long hours and important roles in our lives. The road to becoming a doctor is long and hard; without the present financial rewards many young people will not choose to study medicine. Current doctors may find that they do not want to continue their careers in a government-controlled market. The American Medical Association does not back a government-controlled, single-payer universal health care system.

Universal Health Care
Yes because...

The United States as a whole spends 14% of GDP (total income) on health care. This includes the amo...

The United States as a whole spends 14% of GDP (total income) on health care. This includes the amount spent by the federal government, state governments, employers and private citizens. Many studies have found that a single-payer system would cut costs enough to allow everyone in the USA to have access to good health care without the nation as a whole spending more than it does at the moment. Medicare, a government-run health care program, has administrative costs of less than 2% of its total budget.

No because...

The United States government cannot afford to fund universal health care. Other universal social welfare polices such as Social Security and Medicare have run into major problems with funding. Costs are rising at the same time that the baby boomer generation are growing old and retiring. Soon tens of millions of boomers will stop contributing much tax and start demanding much more in benefits than before. In such a situation we cannot afford to burden the nation with another huge government spending program. Nations that provide universal health care coverage spend a substantial amount of their national wealth on the service.

Universal Health Care
Yes because...

In the current system the employee and the employee’s family often depend on the employer for afford...

In the current system the employee and the employee’s family often depend on the employer for affordable health insurance. If the worker loses their job, the cost of new health insurance can be high and is often unaffordable. Even with current federal laws making insurance more movable, the costs to the employee are too high. With a single-payer, universal health care system, health insurance would no longer be tied to the employer and employees would not have to consider health insurance as a reason to stay with a given employer. This would also be good for the economy as a whole as it would make the labour market more flexible than it has become in recent years.

No because...

The current system of offering group insurance through employers covers many Americans with good quality health insurance. The group plan concept enables insurance companies to insure people who are high risk and low risk by mixing them in the same pool. Issues over losing or leaving a job with health benefits are dealt with by federal laws which require companies to continue to offer workers cover for at least 18 months after they leave employment.

Universal Health Care
Yes because...

Moving to a system of universal health care would reduce the burden on human resources personnel in ...

Moving to a system of universal health care would reduce the burden on human resources personnel in companies. At present they must make sure the company is obeying the very many federal laws about the provision of health insurance. With a universal system where the government was the single-payer, these regulations would not apply and the costs of American businesses would be much reduced.

No because...

Human resources professionals will still be needed to deal with the very many other employment regulations put in place by the federal government. Instead of employees being able to exercise control over their health care choices and work with people in their company, patients will be forced to deal with the nameless, faceless members of the government bureacracy.

Universal Health Care
Yes because...

US health care is hugely unequal. This can be seen in infant death rates, life expectancy and outco...

US health care is hugely unequal. This can be seen in infant death rates, life expectancy and outcomes for common conditions such as cancer and heart problems. The rich have the best healthcare in the world; the poor get worse treatment than in any other developed country. Social justice demands that a universal system is introduced to provide decent care for every American. And as black health outcomes are much worse than those for whites, this is also a racial issue.

No because...

US health care is the best in the world. For example, cancer survival rates are very much better than those under the universal system of Britain’s National Health Service. Almost all new drugs and surgical advances come from the USA because its system encourages excellence. Changing to a government-run system would “level down” health care, making it worse for most Americans while failing to actually improve it for the most badly off. Very often poor health is linked to poverty because of diet, lifestyle and housing issues, and universal health care will do nothing to solve these problems.



Universal Health Care

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