The United States is considered by most to be the greatest country to ever grace the face of the planet. It has the largest military, the largest economy, freedom of speech and religion, one of the first “successful” democracies and of course, the American dream. Yet, what is the one thing that most people seem to forget? That the United States of America, the most dominant force in the world, is also the only westernized industrial nation without a Universal Healthcare system. At an astonishing $2.6 billion spent on health care in 2010, or 18% of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product, the United States also spends more than any other country in the world on a failing health care system, only half of which actually goes towards hospital visits and physician care (Kaiser). Clearly, something has to be done, especially as 48.6 million Americans remain uninsured. The question then begs, what can be done to solve the financial woes of America as well as to ensure that no American has to worry about a lack of medical insurance? The most obvious, and actually in many ways simplest, solution is to develop a universal, comprehensive, organized and public healthcare system that covers all Americans for medical necessities, including doctor, hospital, long-term, dental, drug and preventive care costs.
As soon as the term “Universal healthcare” is brought to light, the far right often slams the proposal, labeling it as a socialist ideal that cannot and should not be achieved. Even if those politicians and individuals do not believe that it is practical, even though it is, it is still far and away the right thing to do. As I previously detailed, almost 50 million Americans, or one sixth of the population, is currently uninsured, with many millions more facing the risk of losing their insurance. It is, at the end of the day, a basic human necessity. Although some rich individuals might be able to slide by without insurance because they can cover the extremely expensive costs of health care, many other Americans cannot. One prominent argument against universal healthcare is that those who are uninsured are too lazy to work and thus maintain health insurance. Fact: 80% of uninsured are working-class individuals whose employers are either too cheap or too poor to afford their employees health insurance. These are honest, hard-working individuals who simply can’t catch a break.
Another huge reason that detractors of universal healthcare use to argue against the institution is that universal healthcare would increase taxes and cost more for the average American. When all is said and done, taxes will increase if a universal healthcare system is implemented. How else would it be paid for? However, the detail that those detractors conveniently forget to point out is that other medical-associated bills such as premiums and hospital stays would be covered to a greater degree under a universal health care system and would also be adjusted to raise in price closer to the rate of inflation ran than the astronomical increases that have been seen over the last two decades. Many economists and organizations, including the American Medical Student Association, the Physician For A National Health Program and Dr. Michael Thorpe of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University all conclude that a comprehensive, universal healthcare system would actually save somewhere between $125 billion to $400 billion annually. One reason that the current system is so cost-ineffective is because there remains a “patchwork system of for-profit players” (PNHP), including CEOs of health insurance companies, who take in enormous administrative costs that can reach around 30% of healthcare expenditure by ordinary citizens. When combined with the extra costs associated with sicker uninsured individuals who are contributing less to the work force for time they miss due to their illnesses that they cannot pay for, resulting in enormous losses on the magnitude of hundreds of billions of dollars annually (AMSA Healthcare Reform Arguments). Once this public health issue is rectified, it also creates more equal opportunity for lower class Americans who might be constrained to their socio-economic level through the burgeoning costs of an ineffective healthcare system. Hopefully by now, you are getting the point, but if you are still not convinced that universal healthcare is a necessity and that it is the right thing to do, then perhaps the argument is already lost on you, confirming many Americans worst fears about the greed of a privileged few. If your healthcare was taken away, it is unlikely that you’d have so many quarrels with such as system.
I have chosen to use only “you” rather than “I” to create some distance between myself and the audience of non-believers in universal healthcare, yet at the same time to make them feel pressured into seeing its significance. I have also used figures of that that arouse emotion and give me, the author, ethos. I have also ensured that my point is clear. The topic is incredibly relevant given recent healthcare law reforms, so the kairos is a major factor in my essay.
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Nationalize the United States’ Health Care
The social, economic, and political development of any country depends on the ability of its citizens to contribute toward common goals. For this to be attained, the population needs to be in good health to engage in productive activities. Health care in the United States should be prioritized if the American Dream is to be realized. Despite this reality, the private sector has over the years focused on economic gains in the provision of health care services, ignoring the importance of health care for all. To guarantee universal access to health care, only the government should be entrusted with health care provision.
The private sector is driven by the profit motive. To realize the desired margins, organizations add up mark ups to their costs in price setting. This results in higher pricing. This is not the case on the part of the government, whose motive is not short-term gains from payments by patients but the long-term social, economic, and political benefits. The private sector cannot be trusted to provide the best value for money as it will always be tempted to maximize profits, sometimes to the disadvantage of patients. The health sector should be nationalized to pull prices down and enhance affordability.
Health care is largely a basic need. The U.S. Constitution guarantees all its citizens a decent life where access to basic needs is a right for all rather than a preserve for the rich. This ideal is not upheld in the private sector. Whereas a hospital may have all the equipments, personnel, and technology to treat a patient, they may withhold these resources from a patient just because they cannot afford to pay for the services. This is a contravention to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees its citizens access to basic needs, including health care. The U.S. Constitution guarantees its citizens the right to liberty, happiness, and life. The many poor U.S. citizens who cannot afford health care from the private sector because of the high prices have their right to happiness denied. In some cases, they may end up losing their lives. This denies them the right to life as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. All American citizens have the right to access quality health care. Quality service cannot be guaranteed under the private sector. In an effort to maximize profits, players in the sector engage in cost cutting measures, including under-staffing and purchase of cheap medical supplies. This reduces the ability of patients to access quality health care, something that jeopardizes their health. Insurance companies are key players in the medical industry. They reap billions from investments made by U.S. citizens in the guise of providing medical care insurance. In any one given time, there will be many court cases involving insurance firms not willing to fulfill their promises. To get this load off citizens, medical care should be nationalized and guaranteed to all irrespective of their social or economic status.Conclusion
From the above presentation, it is evident that leaving health care in the hands of the private sector results in high financial exploitation of U.S. citizens by health care providers and insurance companies. This reduces access to health care by citizens, reducing their ability to contribute toward social, economic, and political development of the country. This denies citizens their right to basic needs, happiness, and life as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. To eliminate the many inefficiencies that come with entrusting health care to the private sector, the country should nationalize health care to make the government the sole provider.