It is important to note that healthcare is an integral part of social wellbeing, which has implications not only on public health but also on the economy, taxation, and governmental involvement. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 and the global pandemic revealed the criticality and vulnerabilities of healthcare infrastructures across the world. One side argues that universal healthcare or ‘Medicare for All’ would eliminate healthcare access inequality and make the U.S. more responsive to major health threats through affordability. The other side states that private insurance provides better coverage, and universal healthcare would be expensive.
The advocates for universal healthcare provide a number of reasons, among which are affordability and its impact on eliminating healthcare access inequality, incentivizing public health improvement, and making the U.S. more responsive to major health threats. The editorial states that “Americans pay far more for health care than citizens of any other developed country” (Editorial Board, St. Louis Post-Dispatch par. 2). For the elimination of inequality argument, the source presents evidence in terms of accurate and reliable statistics about uninsured and underinsured people. It reports that “even with all that spending, 28.9 million Americans were uninsured in 2020. After hitting a record low of 26.7 million people in 2016, the number of uninsured has been steadily climbing” (Editorial Board, St. Louis Post-Dispatch par. 7). In the case of making the U.S. more responsive to major health threats, the editorial provides evidence from the Kaiser Family Foundation and other statistical data about COVID-19. Universal healthcare would eliminate health illiteracy since “nearly 8 in 10 Americans have been exposed to false claims about the virus or the vaccine” (Editorial Board, St. Louis Post-Dispatch par. 11). Those who are against universal healthcare claim that private insurance provides better coverage, and universal healthcare would be expensive. An editorial source states that “a recent Kaiser poll found that the potential loss of private insurance was what turned most people off the concept of Medicare for all” (Editorial Board, New York Times par. 11). The costs would additionally increase since “there would also be new taxes” (Editorial Board, New York Times par. 17). The latter argument is not supported by any evidence, whereas the former one is about the subjective perception of the insured people, and the evidence does not support these statements. The analysis of the pro-universal healthcare arguments shows they are objective and accurate since the research supports the healthcare inequality argument as well as better responsiveness to public health threats. A survey found that “in the first half of 2020, 43.4 percent of U.S. adults ages 19 to 64 were inadequately insured” (Collins et al., 2020, para. 4). Therefore, only around a half of the total population is fully covered, while the other half is still at risk of unexpected needs for medical services, which might not be affordable to them. It is reported that “people who reported problems paying medical bills experienced lingering financial problems including damage to their credit ratings and depleted savings” (Collins et al., 2020, para. 8). In other words, most Americans are either uninsured, underinsured, or financially diminished by the current healthcare system.
In conclusion, the current evidence supports the people advocating for universal healthcare, and this side provides both objective and accurate arguments. The same observation cannot be applied to the other group. The provided evidence by the latter is mostly subjective based on the perception of the public, and taxation or costs are mostly speculative thinking rather than a practical analysis. Universal healthcare will eliminate healthcare access inequality, incentivize public health improvement, and make the U.S. more responsive to major health threats.
Collins, S. R., Gunja, M. Z., & Aboulafia, G. N. (2020). U.S. Health Insurance Coverage in 2020: A Looming Crisis in Affordability. The Commonwealth Fund.
Editorial Board, New York Times. “How Much Will Americans Sacrifice for Good Health Care?” New York Times, 2019.
Editorial Board, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Editorial: A Health Care System That Actually Makes People Sicker.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2021.