The universal healthcare system debate was kicked off by the former US president Bill Clinton. Though his proposal was largely a failure, he set the ball rolling among the American citizens ever since and has found its way in every election campaign according to Sage (2009, Para. 1). The current health care plan has put America into a serious healthcare crisis with an estimated 47 million Americans not yet covered with the health insurance. This has placed the low and medium income earners in an awkward position driving them into deep misery. As a result many people in America agree with a need for a change but the bone of contention is the modalities for the change. US health care is ranked 37th among the 190 countries surveyed by World Health organization (The Truth behind Universal Health Care: Myths Revealed, n.d: Para. 1). The purpose for this paper is thus to argue out why this medical care reform is timely and how it will lead to improvement of lives of millions of uninsured US citizens. In relation to this argument I also seek to prove why the opponents of this scheme are wrong and only bent towards seeking cheap publicity.
The advantages of the universal health care
Universal coverage of heath care to all citizens
With universal health care all American citizens are expected to benefit from the national health care plan besides drastic reduction in the administrative cost of running health care. The United States of America has been the only country in the industrialized world that doesn’t guarantee universal medical care to its citizens (Battista & McCabe, n.d: Para. 1). As are result it has a very poor rating in terms of health care among these countries. Due to these, it has become a common sight to find many people in the country living with chronic but curable diseases, illnesses that keep them away from decent employment and salaries thus condemning them into permanent cyclic poverty. They find it extremely hard to manage chronic illnesses while studies reveal that only 2 out 5 have regular access to a doctor which worsens their health and increases the cost of treatment. This can however be solved by embracing the universal health care plan.
Cheaper to implement
It is much more affordable to implement a universal heath care scheme than to run a private health care plan according to Battista et al., (n.d: Para. 1). The US government is known to spend more money than other countries with a public health care plan around the world. This disapproves the opponents of the bail who for a long time have argued that the Obama’s plan would be too expensive to implement. To cement my argument, a study carried out in 1992 in Connecticut by the State health Care Access commission, found out that a universal health care system would have saved cut health care expenditure by $2 billion by 1999, achieve universal coverage, offer choice to medical providers and also cover all forms of medical care. Other medical studies point to the same direction including The Massachusetts medical society report which concluded that the plan could save between 1.7 to 2.7 billion dollars annually to the state. Contrary to this, the opponents of the universal health care plan lack such scientifically backed facts to back their argument which lowers the validity of their argument.
Reduction of human suffering
It is appalling to find out that under the current heath plan, about 47 million Americans are uninsured while an equal number is underinsured making it very hard for them to access quality health care. For example, the uninsured population is denied medical services, is charged exorbitantly for health services and often dies because of lack of access to medical care according to Pibel & Gelder (2006: Para. 2). Some insurance companies have also refused to fund the treatment for some of their policy holders (MacAskill, 2009: Para. 5). To make this point clearer, about 18,000 people are estimated to die annually because of lack of medical coverage. It even becomes more shocking when one considers that half of the 1.5 million reported bankruptcy cases annually in US are as a result of medical bills. It is worth noting that out that three quarter of this number usually has medical insurance. As a result of this terrible failure of the current health plan, it calls for urgent implementation of the universal health care for all to forestall further suffering of American tax payers.
Promotion of business
Between 2000 and 2005, insurance premiums have been rising steadily by 73% while costs have kept rising all through hence wrecking serious havoc to the industry. Health care spending is expected to double if no reforms undertaken to the current health care plan. This particularly looks grim considering that some employers offer health care benefits to their workers which increases the cost of operations hence putting them at a disadvantage when doing business with those countries that offer universal health care. This decreases the competitiveness of their products when pitted against those produced in other industrialized countries in the international market.
At present, small business enterprises cannot afford health care benefits to their employees while multinational firms are shunning the US market as was demonstrated by the Japanese preference of Canada for America due to high cost of health care. Implementing the universal health care will solve most of this mess and produce a better business environment for the American businesses. The expected cuts in operation expenditure can make a big change to many citizens through provision of more employment opportunities for many. These are some among many benefits of the plan that the opponents of the bill are tending to ignore simply not because they don’t understand but to maintain the status quo.
Improving the quality of health care
An all inclusive health care will have a very positive effect in improving access to quality health care services to citizens as opposed to the current system. The uninsured populace exhibit high tendency of failure to seek treatment for acute conditions until they experience severe conditions which makes their treatment complex and more expensive in addition to reducing chances of recovery. Among the insured, servicing the cost of terminally ill family members is sometimes too demanding in terms of finances which leaves them bankrupt. According to a survey carried out in 2005 by the biennial health insurance, close to 25% of the insured did not fill their doses, skipped their recommended treatment while others failed to seek treatment when sick. As a result the quality of health has been declining alarmingly across America. There is thus no better reason to demand for the universal health care in the light of the collapse of the current medical plan. The new plan promises to lay emphasis on medical research and training of medical personnel which will improve the quality of health care as Crossley (n.d: Para. 5) observes.
Increased marginal productivity
According to Beidler (2007: Para. 1), universal health care will lead to a general increase in the marginal productivity among Americans. A sick population has very low productivity level due to the consequent general body weakness that results from the illness. They work less and are sometimes likely to spend the better part of their lives away from the work which has a negative effect of weighing down on their productivity. The current health plan has not addressed this leading to a decline on the general marginal productivity of the labor force. This has continued to weigh down on the per capita output of Americans thus placing a heavy burden on the society. A universal coverage will definitely address this problem by ensuring everyone has access to proper health care hence reducing the dependency burden which has been building up.
Promotion of preventive health care
The current health care discourages preventive health care hence placing a heavy burden to the curative health plan. Many people are forced to undergo expensive surgical operations and other complex medical procedures for conditions that could have been prevented in the first place. This is a result of people’s tendency to defer treatment when they are sick due to decreased inability to afford the medical services. This has put the US health services under awkward position. In a universal system, people will be able to seek treatment regardless of the condition and stage of illnesses as a result of the enhanced affordability of health care. Furthermore, when one seeks medical care when the problem is minor he is able to work and pay tax much longer than the one who seeks treatment under critical condition (Ballkcom, 2009: Para. 1). This will reduce the characteristic backlog of serious health conditions affecting many Americans. The opponents of the universal bill seems however to have ignored these benefits in totality. They ought to wake up to the realization that the current stalemate will only advance the suffering of low income earners.
Increased reliability of medical cover
The current health care is highly unreliable and unpredictable to employees. To illustrate this, think of this employee who works in a firm that guarantees a medical cover. Along his career, he switches his job to another employer who doesn’t offer a medical cover. The second employer might even be offering him a higher salary but doesn’t guarantee him treatment in case he gets sick which makes him highly vulnerable. According to Butler (2003: Para. 1), those workers enjoying medical coverage from their employers who are pushed into early retirement due to unavoidable circumstances lose their medical covers under the current medical care regime. This exposes them into immense suffering as they are no longer able to afford basic health care in an atmosphere where virtually all medical services are commercialized. This definitely calls for urgent measures to avert such suffering among the American tax payers.
The current health care plan has totally failed in its mandate and a whole new approach needs to be adopted. Mere amendments of the current system will not bare much fruits and so a whole new approach ought to be put in place in order to restore confidence to the millions of Americans who are suffering out there. The ultimate answer to this problem lies in implementation of the universal health care plan which promises to bring to an end the immense suffering as has become part of every day life in many American households. The best favor the opponents of this bill can do to the approximately 47 million non insured citizens is to join ranks with Obama in enactment of this bill to make America a better place to live for every American citizen.
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Crossley, L. Benefits of Obama’s Health Care Plan. 2009. Web.
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