Imagine a world where nobody has to worry about stressing to find the money that they do not have after leaving the doctor’s office. A world where all people have access to the medical attention that they need and deserve. All people including the ones that are in financial struggles; the ones that are shying away from getting treatment in fear of not being able to pay. This is the idea of universal health care: a system in which the federal government offers medical services to all citizens, regardless of their ability to pay. Out of 33 developed countries, 32 of them have adopted universal health care. These countries include Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and others to follow. The demand call of universal health care started in 1948, the year the World Health Organization declared healthcare a basic human right (Amadeo). So why should the United States not espouse this highly impactful system? The United States should acquire universal health care because it will allow quality medical attention for all people, create a healthier workforce, and lower administrative costs.
Health care is a highly stressful and expensive concern on the minds of many people. Universal health care vitalizes hospitals and medical providers to give and treat all of their patients with the same standard of quality, regardless of money. A large shocking majority of Americans will delay or put off medical treatment due to financial conflict and or circumstances each year. Research according to a Harris Poll survey of more than 20,000 adults informed that 54 percent had delayed medical care for themselves within the past year because of cost, while 23 percent said they delayed medical care for more than a year for the same reason (Carter). This makes a total of 77 percent of the people surveyed have put off medical attention due to money. For instance, Aimee Synder, a 28-year-old graduate student from the University of Arizona missed the sign-up deadline for health insurance by one day. She was then proceeded to delaying assistance after experiencing shortness of breath and severe leg pains. Aimee claims she could not imagine how she was going to pay the emergency room bill if she went, therefore, she decided it was going to be okay to wait it out. After finding out she could get a discount on her medical bill, Aimee finally chose to go to the ER where the doctors discovered an extensive blood clot in her leg, with pieces breaking off and traveling to her lungs. Doctors said she was at risk of dying within hours (Neighmond). At the same time, 10 percent of Americans with children below the age of 18, have delayed care for themselves or a child because of financial issues (Carter). Universal health care will equalize the assistance that will be given to patients, making it harder for doctors and hospitals to target and cater to wealthier clients (MasterClass). This is because all patients will now be able to seek treatment and services, changing the ultimate goal of caring for their patients rather than getting the most out of patients. Countries that have universal health care also impose greater regulations and raise higher taxes to force the population to healthier choices (Amadeo). They will often charge higher sin taxes on items such as cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and anything potentially harmful to one’s body. Implementing this health system will not only improve one’s health but also create a better workforce.
As countries with universal health care will impose higher sin taxes for a finer salubrious community, universal health care will overall create a healthier workforce. 46 percent of patients in the U.S went to the emergency room for medical services because it was the only affordable place before the Affordable Care Act was put into effect. The emergency room is a place that has to be offered to patients by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. Therefore, many people would rather go to the emergency room when they are hit with sudden illnesses, rather than taking steps for preventative care, such as yearly exams, or a trip to see a doctor when symptoms first arise. Every year, more than 900,000 Americans die prematurely due to the five leading causes of death for adults in the U.S, which include heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injury (CDC). And with this demountable number of deaths that occur every year, 20 to 40 percent of deaths could be prevented, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With universal health care, the encouragement of preventive care would be much greater, and the need for emergency interventions would decrease. This allows people to take more precautions for their health, while also opening up the emergency room for its actual purpose, emergencies. Health care inequality is currently one of the biggest barriers in medical care, as the U.S is highly dependent on a person’s income. Studies have concluded that the higher a person’s income, the healthier that person is. While the lower the income, the more likely there are to be health complications of that person (Amadeo). However, if the United State’s health system targets those who need help and support the most for their wellness maintenance, health inequality will no longer be a dominant reason for the rise in the cost of medical care. Universal health care would then allow health providers to be able to better treat and communicate with their patients, without money being an issue. It removes the superiority of those who can afford medical care and those who can not. With common health systems today, services are expensive in order to pay doctors more, and the ultimate objective of for-profit businesses is to make money. So if the health system is changed to be open to everyone, patient care will focus on helping those who can not pay, then those who can.
People against universal health care will argue that the money they are paying could be for services that are not for them. Using universal health care forces those who are already healthy and able to pay, asked to care for those who are poor and sick (Amadeo). In the United States, 5 percent of people consume around 50 percent of the health care costs collected at the end of the year (Regoli). This means that a small percentage of people are benefiting from the payment that is collected from health spending funds. Asking those who are more than capable of paying higher taxes is arduous itself, therefore, it is usually assumed it would be an overstretch to expect and instruct middle-classes to also pay higher taxes for another’s heath (Bruenig). However, the truth is that most, if not all people already pay a lot for taxes and even more for their private health insurance. According to analysis from O.E.C.D Taxing Wages model and information from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, if an American earns about $43,000, half of the compensation including wages, including employer payroll and premiums, 37 percent of it will go to taxes and health care premiums (Bruenig). This impacts especially families that have children since taxes will reduce with more members, but, in the end, it results in a bigger percentage of the family income going towards health care premiums because there are more people. Although people would need to pay higher taxes, the money will go towards the good of helping people, those who are in poverty, and not able to seek medical needs. While these ideas have some merit, the financial benefits to universal health care companies’ administrative costs outweigh their concerns.
Health care administrative costs can be very expensive, but using universal health care will lower the prices. It eliminates the administrative costs of dealing with different private health insurance and pharmaceuticals. When doctors have to deal with private companies, such as Medicare or Medicaid, much more staff will be hired to work with the insurers (Amadeo). The United State’s administrative health care costs are assuredly higher than of any other countries. A report from the National Academy of Medicine states that excess BIR costs amount to $190 to $245 billion in a year (Gee). The report estimates that 66 percent of BIR costs for private health insurance and 50 percent of the providers are all excess. Based on this data, $248 billion of the total of $496 billion BIR costs are all administrative costs that are completely surfeit (Gee). With private pay systems, health insurers have administrative costs that are made into spending funds required for clients for care access. But with a universal health care system, administrative requirements become simplified, and instead of dealing with multiple private agencies, the billing is to one agency (Regoli). Universal health care will lower the costs for the national economy because the federal government will now be in charge of the prices of medications and treatments. Doctors themselves will be able to reduce administrative costs and hire less faculty because they no longer need to work with a myriad of private health companies (MasterClass). Universal health care is a highly effective alternative health system that will help not only advantage families, but also medical care providers to save money.
Now all people can seek medical attention when needed. Now all people can feel at ease after leaving the hospital. Now, all children and kids can be treated, without their parents’ worries about being unable to pay. But this can only be done if the United States adopts universal health care. Universal health care will be sure to standardize treatment that is given to every patient, making sure every person receives standard quality care. It will create a healthier workforce where preventative care is strongly reinforced so that less productivity and time are lost to illness. And it will overall lower the excess administrative prices that are being paid due to private insurers. The United States should have universal health care because it will allow quality attention for all people, create a healthier workforce, and more economical administrative costs.
- Amadeo, Kimberly. “Why America Is the Only Rich Country Without Universal Health Care.” The Balance, The Balance, www.thebalance.com/universal-health-care-4156211#advantages.
- Bruenig, Matt. “Universal Health Care Might Cost You Less Than You Think.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Apr. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/opinion/medicare-for-all-cost.html.
- Carter, Shawn M. “Over Half of Americans Delay or Don't Get Health Care Because They Can't Afford It-These 3 Treatments Get Put off Most.” CNBC, CNBC, 3 Apr. 2019, www.cnbc.com/2018/11/29/over-half-of-americans-delay-health-care-becasue-they-cant-afford-it.html.
- CDC. “Up to 40 Percent of Annual Deaths from Each of Five Leading US Causes Are Preventable.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 May 2014, www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0501-preventable-deaths.html.
- Gee, Emily, and Topher Spiro. “Excess Administrative Costs Burden the U.S. Health Care System.” Center for American Progress, www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/reports/2019/04/08/468302/excess-administrative-costs-burden-u-s-health-care-system/.
- Lu, Jui-Fen Rachel, et al. “Does Universal Health Insurance Make Health Care Unaffordable? Lessons From Taiwan.” Health Affairs, June 2003, www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.22.3.77.
- MasterClass. “What Is Universal Health Care? Definition, Pros, and Cons - 2019.” MasterClass, MasterClass, 9 Sept. 2019, www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-universal-health-care#what-is-universal-health-care.
- Neighmond, Patti, and Richard Knox. “Your Stories Of Being Sick Inside The U.S. Health Care System.” NPR, NPR, 21 May 2012, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/05/21/153028362/your-stories-of-being-sick-inside-the-u-s-health-care-system.
- Regoli, Natalie. “17 Universal Health Care Pros and Cons.” Vittana.org, Vittana, vittana.org/17-universal-health-care-pros-and-cons.