Healthcare is a hot button topic for many Americans. Either you have insurance, or you have insurance and it isn’t enough to cover the services you need – or you have no insurance at all and risk going bankrupt if you have to go into the hospital for an emergency. Universal healthcare has been proffered as a solution to these problems, but it’s one that has been met with a lot of resistance from those in power. Why is universal healthcare so important, and why is it so hard to implement in the United States?
What is Universal Healthcare?
First, for anyone in the United States, what is Universal Healthcare?
Universal healthcare is defined as healthcare that is offered to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. It is used in most countries in the civilized world – its often referred to as “Medicare for All.” In most countries, healthcare is paid for by private companies. In the United States, Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE are the closest thing to universal healthcare that we have in the United States – and the number of people who can use these services are limited. Medicare is reserved for those who have reached the retirement age or those with disabilities. Medicaid is limited to individuals who are low income, and TRICARE is healthcare for military members and dependents.
Why is it Important?
Why is universal healthcare so important for people in the United States? There are a number of reasons, that include but aren’t limited to:
- People shouldn’t have to go bankrupt if they have a medical emergency.
- Parents shouldn’t have to start a GoFundMe to pay for their child’s medical care, especially if they have a chronic condition.
- Universal healthcare can help stop some of the biggest killers in the medical world – things like HIV/AIDS, TB and other non-communicable diseases can all be stopped with proper health care, something that many people don’t have access to.
- It can help strengthen the economy by improving health security. It has been found that investing just $1 per person into health care can result in anywhere from 9 to 20 times that single dollar in income growth by 2035. People will be more likely to seek medical care when they are ill, reducing work time lost.
- It is important because healthcare one of the fundamental human rights.
If healthcare is so important, why is it so difficult to get it started in the United States?
Why Can’t We Implement it in the United States?
Why don’t we already have universal health care as the standard in the US?
There are three main reasons that we’re sticking to traditional healthcare methods that tend to leave a lot of people falling through the cracks.
- No one likes entitlement programs. In spite of the fact that healthcare is considered a basic human right, the U.S. Government still sees it as an entitlement program and those are hard to enact on the best of days. The government as a whole is designed to be negatively biased against universal healthcare or anything else they see as ‘handouts.’
- People don’t want it. This is a very general observation – there are obviously people who want and would benefit from universal healthcare, but as a whole the people believe that the government shouldn’t be poking their noses into the people’s lives. Universal healthcare is the anthesis of the individuality and limited government that the United States was built on.
- The Industry Doesn’t Want It. Healthcare and insurance lobbyists don’t want universal health care because it could negatively affect their bottom line. Its hard to make money in health insurance if healthcare is offered to everyone regardless of their income level.
If we can overcome these three hurdles, we could potentially pave the way for universal healthcare in the future, but they are mighty hurdles indeed. One fact remains though – universal healthcare could save lives, and improve quality of life by allowing patients to see the medical care they need when they need it instead of waiting for their condition to get bad enough that they take a trip to the ER
With universal healthcare, we wouldn’t have stories like the man who waited until he won the lottery to go to the doctor, only to find out that he had stage 4 cancer. He died a few weeks after his diagnosis. Under a universal healthcare system, he could have visited the doctor in time to find the cancer and receive proper treatment.
The United States is the only developed country left that doesn’t offer universal healthcare for it’s citizens. It may be up to us, the people, to force their hand and make them make the changes that we want to see. Universal healthcare will change live, and save lives, but we need to convince enough politicians that it needs to come off the page and become reality.