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Universal Healthcare in America Study: Thesis Statement

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Strive as we might to maintain our health, in the end, to grow sick and frail is an unavoidable part of the human condition. Thus, securing the access to affordable health care should be an important topic for all U.S. citizens. The wealthiest country in the world should not force their citizens to choose between saving their life or losing their home and marriage to medical debt.

Meet Heather Waldron and John Hawley. Until a few years ago, they were a happy and loving family with five children. That was until Waldron had to have an emergency surgery performed in 2017, and the University of Virginia Health System pursed the couple with a lawsuit and a lien on their home to recoup $164,000 in charges. They had to worry about the electricity bill and their children even had to sell their clothes for spending money. Ultimately, this financial ruin contributed to their divorce (Hancock, Lucas, 2019). This family is not alone, and in fact a regular occurrence with our current health care system. This story is one that could have been avoided with a universal health care system, a system offered by the federal government that provides quality medical services to all citizens regardless of their ability to pay.

Thesis Statement

The United States should adopt a Universal Healthcare system because it is an established human right and it lowers health care costs for an economy.

Main Point #1: The US is often known as a champion of human rights around the world.

However, in the United States, there exists a system inherently designed on denying rather than supporting the right to health care. The right to accessible and affordable healthcare is already seen as a universal human right in most of the developed world.

A. Ironically, while the right to healthcare is recognized internationally, its origins began in the United States.

1) As Mary Gerisch from the American Bar states, “Health care was listed in the Second Bill of Rights drafted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). Sadly, FDR’s death kept this Second Bill of Rights from being implemented.” (Gerisch, n.d.). His wife, Eleanor Roosevelt continued his work by taking it to the United Nations, where she became the drafting chairperson for the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. This reinforces the fact the right to health care has always been an American idea.

2) Mary Gerisch continues to write that the “committee codified our human rights, including, at Article 25, the essential right to health. The United States, together with all other nations of the UN, adopted these international standards.” (Gerisch, n.d.). Since the adoption of the UDHR, all other industrialized countries in the world have gone on to implement universal health care systems. This is not a foreign idea, or as some have claimed, an “immoral socialist idea”, for the idea began right here in the United States.

B. In fact, we can go back farther to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

1) As our Founding Fathers state, all men have “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” (Declaration of Independence, 1776). Without healthcare, we cannot truly preserve life nor can we pursue happiness. As all people will require medical attention at one point or another, the right to life and the pursuit of happiness should be safeguarded by a universal healthcare system.

2) According to the Preamble of the US Constitution, its purpose is to “promote the general welfare” of the people (US Const., Preamble). Healthcare should be considered an urgent priority for the government to ensure that the people’s welfare is well provided for. A lack of healthcare and extreme medical costs are a growing crisis which can be seen in today’s politics.

C. As Stephani Armour states in an article for the Wall Street Journal on September 10, 2019, that the number of Americans without health insurance has reached nearly 28 million (Armour, 2019). This is a crisis, and a crisis ignored cannot be viewed as the government fulfilling its fundamental duty to ensure the welfare of the people is provided for.

3) This is especially the case when you take into consideration the alarming number of medical bankruptcies in the U.S. According to Mark Cussen from Investopedia, he wrote in 2019 that the number one reason for bankruptcy in the U.S. was due to medical expenses, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies (Cussen, 2019).

4) Mark Cussen goes on to point out that “78% of filers had some form of health insurance”, discrediting the misconception that medical expenses only affect those who are not insured (Cussen, 2019). The right to healthcare is clearly a growing crisis that demands attention from the government in the form of a universal health care system. Providing a universal healthcare system that insures citizens will receive the medical attention required without facing financial ruin falls upon the government to provide the people with wellbeing.

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Main Point #2: Contrary to the belief of Universal Healthcare’s opponents, it actually lowers the healthcare costs for an economy.

A. Despite being the only wealthy and developed nation without universal healthcare coverage, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the United States spent $3.5 trillion in 2017 for healthcare costs. This means more than $10,000 per person and about one-sixth of the country’s economy (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2019). We are not saving more by avoiding a Universal health care system. In fact, this far exceeds any other country.

1) According to a cross-national comparison analysis conducted by the Commonwealth Fund that uses data conducted in 2013 from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), of the 13 high-income countries that were compared (Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the United States is the highest spender on health care (Squires, 2015).

2) David Squires from the Commonwealth Fund writes that according to data collected from the OECD, the “U.S. spent 17.1 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care in 2013.” (Squires, 2015) and that this was close to 50% more than the next highest spender. This number has continued to rise, as we see an increase healthcare costs.

3) As you can see in this diagram, despite being the only country listed that doesn’t support universal health care, the US pays far more.

B) In fact, multiple studies being conducted by teams of economists from opposing political backgrounds are quickly displaying that a single-payer universal healthcare system could in fact save the nation trillions of dollars over decades.

1) An establish economic research paper conducted by a team of economists with the Political Economy Research Institute (Peri) at the University of Amherst, Bernie Sander’s “Medicare for All” plan could save $2.93 trillion over a decade (Pollin, Heintz, Arno, Wicks-Lim, Ash, 2018). Economists have made it clear that although universal healthcare would require a large initial investment, it would save the economy long-term when compared to our current system.

2) In fact, a study was funded by the Koch brothers by Charles Blahous from the conservative think-tank, Mercatus Center at George Mason University, with the purpose of discrediting a single-payer universal healthcare system in the US. However, even this paper had the unintentional result of pointing out that a single payer universal healthcare system could save Americans more than $2 trillion over a decade (Blahous, 2018).

3) Despite these studies coming from opposing political ideologies and intent, the consensus is clear that a national single-payer healthcare system would in fact save money long-term while increasing coverage.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is time for the United States to join the rest of the developed world and adopt a universal healthcare system as it is both a human right and lowers the healthcare costs for an economy. It is a rare instance where the people can listen to both their hearts and minds when making a decision. Both morality and logic assert that universal health care is not only a viable option but should be considered a fundamental right in the US.

As was established by the Elanor Roosevelt lead committee of United Nations in 1948, healthcare is a human right, an idea that began in the United States. It is time we take back this idea, for the governments job is to “promote the general welfare” of which healthcare is essential.

The healthcare costs in the United States are the highest in the world with some of the lowest coverage, it is time we put aside political disagreements and listen to the numbers.

As you listen to this speech, everyday more Americans go without coverage, are driven into poverty, and are forced to do things inconceivable in other developed nations, such as ending long-term happy marriages to avoid medical costs.

A hospital visit, the birth of a child, or an unfortunate diagnosis are experiences that every American will encounter at one point or another. Financial ruin or lack of coverage should be the last thing in their hearts or minds.

It is imperative that we push for a universal healthcare system as one day it will affect us all.

Full references

  1. Jay Hancock, Elizabeth Lucas. (2019). The Washington Post. ‘UV has ruined us’: Health system sues thousands of patients, seizing paychecks and putting liens on homes. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/uva-has-ruined-us-health-system-sues-thousands-of-patients-seizing-paychecks-and-putting-liens-on-homes/2019/09/09/5eb23306-c807-11e9-be05-f76ac4ec618c_story.html.
  2. Mary Gerisch. (n.d.). American Bar Association. Health Care As a Human Right. Retrieved from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/the-state-of-healthcare-in-the-united-states/health-care-as-a-human-right/
  3. National Archives. (1776). The Declaration of Independence. Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript
  4. National Constitution Center. (1788). Preamble: We the People. Retrieved from https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/preamble
  5. Stephanie Armour. (2019). The Wall Street Journal. Number of Uninsured Americans Rises for First Time in Decade. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/number-of-americans-without-insurance-shows-first-increase-since2008-11568128381
  6. Mark P. Cussen. (2019). Investopedia. Top 5 Reasons Why People Go Bankrupt. Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0310/top-5-reasons-people-go-bankrupt.aspx
  7. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2019). NHE Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/statistics-trends-and-reports/nationalhealthexpenddata/nhe-fact-sheet.html.
  8. David Squires. (2015). The Commonwealth Fund. U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective. Retrieved from https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2015/oct/us-health-care-global-perspective.
  9. Robert Pollin, James Heintz, Peter Arno, Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Michael Ash. (2018). Political Economy Research Institute. Economic Analysis of Medicare for All. Retrieved from https://www.peri.umass.edu/publication/item/1127-economic-analysis-of-medicare-for-all.
  10. Charles Blahous. (2018). Marcatus Working Paper, Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The Costs of a National Single-Payer Healthcare System. Retrieved from https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/blahous-costs-medicare-mercatus-working-paper-v1_1.pdf.
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Universal Healthcare in America Study: Thesis Statement. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 3, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/universal-healthcare-in-america-study-thesis-statement/
“Universal Healthcare in America Study: Thesis Statement.” Edubirdie, 15 Nov. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/universal-healthcare-in-america-study-thesis-statement/
Universal Healthcare in America Study: Thesis Statement. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/universal-healthcare-in-america-study-thesis-statement/> [Accessed 3 Mar. 2024].
Universal Healthcare in America Study: Thesis Statement [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 15 [cited 2024 Mar 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/universal-healthcare-in-america-study-thesis-statement/
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