Universal health care is prominent in 32 out of the 33 first-world countries (Regoli, n.d.). Though the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, our “great” nation is divided when it comes to adopting such a policy. The topic of universal health care is so divided in our country that it has become one of the most talked about platforms for presidential candidates; the democratic candidates tend to side more with the implementation of universal health care while the more right-winged conservatives do not believe government should be involved in health care at all. There are several types of universal healthcare systems throughout the world, and some types are more plausible for the United States than others. In my opinion, as well as with the over fifteen other Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential Election, universal healthcare is a must; it is just a matter of policymakers actually putting in the effort.
Like all policies, there are pros and cons of universal health care and if implemented, there is always evaluation and room for revision if necessary. Yet, it seems our country’s current leaders will not even consider the pros and cons, but rather only focus on the negatives, convincing our government and our people that it is not doable. Taxing the wealthiest people in our country slightly more is, to some, unthinkable. They argue that people single-handedly earned their money fair-and-square and they should not have to be punished for succeeding in our country. However, someone recently did the math and found that if you made $5000 dollars a day from the time Columbus sailed the ocean blue in the year 1492, you still would not be a billionaire (“If You Made $5,000 a Day”, 2019). Though many of the world’s wealthiest earned their fair-and-square, it was not through their own blood, sweat, and tears; they invested, invented, exported, and eventually delegated, meaning that they themselves did not single-handedly work to make their billions of dollars. A study produced by the New York Times found that the bottom 95% of people in our country make 80% of their income through wages and salary whereas the top 1% of our nation’s wealth make their income through long-term capital gains (Schwartz, 2019). According to Elizabeth Warren’s tax plan, if we charged those who make over $50,000,000 an extra 2%, we would bring in extra $2.6 trillion dollars into our economy in just ten years (Schwartz, 2019). With those extra funding going toward the people in our country, we can potentially minimize the threat of social security running out as well as provide more universal health care for all, while weakening the income inequality in our country.
According to Editor-in-Chief Natalie Regoli at Vittana.org, one of the reasons people are against universal healthcare is that people would be paying for services not relevant to them. Within that argument, people argue that they should not have to pay for medical treatment for people who are unhealthy due to their own lifestyle or for people in general when the taxpayers themselves are perfectly healthy (n.d.). However, what people do not recognize, is that illnesses and emergencies can strike anyone at any time. People can lose their job and be left with no money at the drop of a hat with no warning; people tend to think that the worst will not happen to them and blame others for their misfortune, attributing it to character flaws. Others who oppose the United States adopting universal health care believe that patient care will be less accurate. Wait times to see physicians will rise and doctors will be less accurate due to the high volume of patients they are likely to receive; they may have thorough appointments in order to accommodate the supposed influx of patients. Also, seeing that most doctors are paid more through free-market private insurers, people believe doctors may have less incentive to treat patients with the utmost care if they are not being paid well enough (Regoli, n.d.). Though I agree the wait times may be longer, the argument that doctors would not provide care to the best of their abilities seems far-fetched; if all doctors are mandated to provide the same quality of care to all people, then they are all being held to the same standards across the board, not just giving their best efforts to those whose insurance companies pay them more. Similarly, doctors still have a code of ethics that need to be followed and if they do not uphold those standards, they can lose their license. Social workers also have a code of ethics that they need to follow and if they do not, they can also lose their licenses. Yet, many social workers work for non-profit centers and free clinics and their quality of care for clients does not diminish.
Those in favor of universal health care in our country argue that ensuring everyone has health insurance and people do not have to go bankrupt due to being unable to afford medical treatment. In addition, implementing universal health care also allows the government to control the costs of medical services and medication, regulating prices of medication for people while simultaneously reducing the cost of health care in our country (“Learn About Universal Health Care”, 2019). Though money is an important factor in running a nation, so are the people who make up our country. The people need to come first.
The World Health Organization asserts that “Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need…[meaning] Equity in access to health services - everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them” (2019). That statement right there truly encompasses why I stand for the implementation of universal health care in our country; no one deserves to suffer or die at the hands of an unfair and unjust government.
If people believe that universal health care makes us a socialist country, then that means that the other 32 first-world countries with universal healthcare are all socialist countries as well. Our country’s economic system was not designed to accommodate universal health care from the start; our country’s individualistic way of life is literally killing people for the sole purpose of greed and protecting self-interest. It is not a matter of fact or fiction; we have 32 other developed countries to look at and learn from. We have 32 other developed countries to model after- to see what works and what does not. We have options to give our people a better quality of life. But ultimately, if it’s not benefiting the rich white men in our country who make the decisions, nothing will be done because why correct a problem that will never be relevant to their individual lives? Though there are both pros and cons of implementing universal health care, I believe that giving all men, women, and child the opportunity to live long, healthy lives no matter the cost is a must. Health care should be a human right, and there is not a single argument that is big enough to tell me otherwise.
- If You Made $5,000 a Day Starting in 1492, Would You Still Have... (2019, October 8). Retrieved from https://www.truthorfiction.com/if-you-made-5000-a-day-starting-in-1492-would-you-still-have-less-money-than-jeff-bezos/.
- Nelson. (2019, September 24). Democrats Want to Tax the Rich. Here's How Those Plans Would Work (or Not). Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/24/business/economy/wealth-tax-rich.html.
- Regoli, N. (n.d.). 17 Universal Health Care Pros and Cons. Retrieved from https://vittana.org/17-universal-health-care-pros-and-cons.
- What is universal coverage? (2019, July 9). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health_financing/universal_coverage_definition/en/.
- What is Universal Health Care? Definition, Pros, and Cons - 2019. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-universal-health-care#what-are-the-advantages-of-universal-health-care.