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Can America Health Care Be Free?

by Suleman

Millions of United State citizens lack health insurance despite the escalating annual health-care costs. These costs are valued at two trillion dollars per annum and correspond to China’s economic size. As a result, most of the citizens are unhappy with American health care sector despite it possessing a lucrative medical care system. According to a survey conducted by US Census Bureau in 2008, 46. 3 million Americans were insured. Similarly, the 2007 health care expenditure was estimated at $ 2.2 trillion, which was a reflection of 16.2 percent of U.S economy. In terms of employment, Healthcare sector employs more than 1.4 people of the U.S population. Proponents argue that an individual’s right to health helps in reduction of overall healthcare expenditure that improves public health, and curb any medical bankruptcies. These proponents support their argument by the assumption that no person in developed countries can survive without accessing healthcare services. However, opponents of entitlement of Americans to health care services are of the opinion that socialism is created when revenue tax is used to provide healthcare services. Similarly, it is argued that availability and quality of health care is minimal among people who dedicate their time in getting medical coverage insurance. Therefore, despite the opponents’ opinions, America’s health care services should be free to its citizens in order to produce healthy citizens who can work in agricultural, production and industrial sectors (Stossel and Andrew 12-14).

            Health care system in United States should be free because when it is not free, the country would be classified as having poorest health care services among industrialized countries. An evaluation of 27 high-income democratic members of the economic Co-operation and Development Organization shows that United States has the highest infant mortality rate alongside countries such as Slovakia and Hungary, which is attributed to costly health care system. In addition, in regards to life expectancy at birth, it is ranked in the 23rd position. Unlike other developed countries, United States does not provide its citizens with universal health coverage. Despite this, it ranked number one in per capita health care expenditures among the 193 World Health Organization member states. Its expenditures are estimated at $ 6, 719 per year. According to the WHO rankings, life expectancy in the U. S is seventy-eight thus; it is ranked at number 31 in the world. Similarly, among the 193 member state of WHO, it is number 152 in cases of infant mortality rates with an estimation of six death per thousand infants (Stossel and Andrew 13).

            In regards to Census Bureau report of 2009, 15.4 percent of U.S population had no health care insurance in the year 2008. However, the results are prone to prejudice because the methodology may have been flawed or it included immigrants who had not been documented. Some critics posit that some people may have opted to enroll for medical insurance or some people may have provided false information du to lack of private insurance cover. Evaluation of U.S bankruptcies in 2007 reveals that 62.1 percent were medical related expenses implying that health care costs have become unaffordable for many Americans middle-working families. Though some people have medical insurances, an evaluation of the bankruptcies showed that 78 percent of those interviewed had medical insurance cover. Majority of U.S uninsured citizens are low-income earners with an annual income household of less than $ 50000. Based on the rising health insurance premiums, which have tripled most of the household income, there is need for the government to alleviate health care services among its citizens in order to make it more affordable. Several attempts to initiate a universal coverage have been noted in U.S.

Can America Health Care Be Free?

            President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the first attempt in the 1938 “New Deal.” President Harry S. Truman in his 1945 “Fair Deal” suggested similar measures. Other attempts include the 1971 and 1993 suggestions by President Richard Nixon and President Bill Clinton’s respectively (Fox 18-19).

            Universal healthcare should be adopted in American just as it has been embraced by other industrialized countries in the world. In this case, most hospitals and doctors will operate as private businesses to make health care services more accessible to the people. The advantages of this system are the notable reduced paperwork costs to a manageable level within America due to the government obligation in settling of hospital bills. Implementation of universal health care leads to reduction of expensive HMO’s and insurance corporations with their notable multimillion- CEO compensation packages, and profit oriented adjectives. This based on the fact that a single system will easily cover the entire population at costs that are half of its per capita. It is argued that low-income earners in the U.S with no insurance cover are forced out of job sector due to debilitating pain or diseases. As a result, most of the low class individuals have been placed on a permanent track of poverty.

            Poor health among these individuals is caused by difficulties in management of chronic conditions by these individuals and limited access to regular medical services. Therefore, high medical costs have led to poor health conditions among the low class individuals in America. Moreover, uninsured individuals are forced to wait for longer periods in order to seek medical attention even in cases of acute conditions. This has caused severe complications and increased deaths. On the other hand, due to late exclusions, annual limits, deductibles, and co-payments, most of the insured citizens usually face bankruptcies whenever they experience serious illnesses in their families. According to biennial health survey funded by Commonwealth, more than a quarter of the insured American citizens have been noted to fail in seeing a doctor and some have skipped recommended treatment because of costly health care services (Clemmitt 15-17).

In addition, several opinions have been raised in agreement with the fact that all Americans should have access to free health care services. According to Declaration of Independence states, all human citizens have a right to health care regardless of their circumstances. Therefore, all American have unalienable right to life as stated by the declaration, health care services whereby health care services should be made available. Similarly, the preamble of the United States constitution clearly outlines its purpose in promoting the general welfare of its citizens, health care services is an unalienable consideration. Furthermore, the need to make the health care in U. S free stems from the universal declaration made by United nations to ensure that every person lives a standard life adequate to their well being and their family whereby medical care is inclusive. Implementation of free healthcare services facilitates accessibility to preventive and regular medical care thus excluding unavoidable cases that usually end up in chronic illnesses. Moreover, a healthy nation is beneficial to economic growth of a given nation. People usually live a healthy life when they get the right adequate medical attention. As a result, there is an increased lifespan of individuals implying that they have a larger influence on the societal progress. Nevertheless, shorter life spans and bad health has detrimental effects on the countries economy. This is exemplified by an annual expenditure of $65 to 130 billion on people suffering from illnesses and without medical insurance in America. Conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression are caused by lack of health care services. In addition, apart from effects noted on an individual level, lack of adequate medical attention and services are known to affect the community and families due to bankruptcies and exorbitant health care costs. 

Concerning employment, a healthy nation has a variety of jobs opportunities. Entrepreneurship in any country is encouraged by guarantee to free and quality health care system. It is noted that most of the citizens in United States detest the idea of starting their own business out of fear of losing the medical insurance that their current jobs offer them. Furthermore, health care promotes equality among people thus reducing the burden of economically disadvantaged people in the society that is propagated by medically related financial complications and bad health. Since health is a pillar in the proper functioning of the community, making health care a free service to the community is analogous to provision of waste and trash services, which are done to every American. Based on the consideration of health services as a civil right, doing away with health care expenses will decrease discrimination thus making poor and low class ill Americans to use their resources to meet other basic needs and enhance comfort in their lives. Moreover, epidemics such as small pox or Swine flew (H1N1 flu) will be easily combated when all people have equal chances of visiting doctors, getting proper medical services, and managing conditions that can lead to chronic disease (Gatter 596).

However, opponents to making health care system free to all Americans purports that United States will experience a decrease in availability and quality of health care when all Americans are guaranteed free health care services. Studies have shown that the world highest statistics of breast and prostate cancer survival rates have been recorded in the U.S. According to a survey conducted by Institute of Medicine in 2004, it is perceived that U.S has the most responsive health care system in the world. This is based on several factors such as adherence to consumer preference and patient confidentiality. In addition, very short wait time has been recorded for elective procedures. Contrary, critics argue that Healthcare system in America should not be free because the country has advanced medical technology that requires maintenance and modification services (“Universal health care” 21.)

According Gatter (595), in his review of America’s healthcare regulations, systematic organization of laws governing health care delivery is hard due to the notable large variations. Thus, mapping health care regulations by the government is an attainable venture. Variations in health care laws are due to inclusion of business practices as well as clinical regulations. These laws not only cover medical malpractice and licensing but also relationships between insurers and providers, financial relationships among ancillary providers, hospitals, and physicians, and bargaining relationships among medical providers’ consultation with payers’. Therefore, health law intertwines several legal fields such as insurance, professional, tort regulations intellectual, corporate, and tax law. Moreover, difficulties in making health care system in America free are attributed to the diverse targets of health care regulations. This involves corporate hospital chains and physicians, hospices and health insures blood banks, research universities, and drug manufactures and data warehouses. Furthermore, there exist numerous sources of health care services making it difficult to create a uniform healthcare system in United States. These include federal and state legislations, common laws, private organizations standards, and federal agencies and countless state regulations (Gatter 598).

            Opponents to approving a free health care system in United States argue that decisions regarding to death, governance rather than the predefined position of doctors and patients will make health, and life difficult. In addition, they posit that a free health care system will encourage incentives and competition with the perception of providing higher quality medical services and technology at the expense of other important sectors of the economy. As a result, other sectors of economy will be affected due to increased taxation. Therefore, providing health services to all citizens is expensive for the government and hard to maintain. Studies have identified likelihood of moral hazard emergence due to guaranteed medical coverage. Americans are liable to engage in riskier activities without taking precautions since they are assured of free health care services. According to President Barrack Obama, approving implementation of free health care system would be a great mistake. Though the cost of medical services is a big burden to businesses and families, transferring it to the government would be threatening the countries economy. Rather than creating a free medical system, there is need to design legislations that will facilitate coverage of all Americans (“Should all Americans have the rights” 10).

In conclusion, United State should make its health care system free because of its contribution to the well being of its citizens and its beneficial effects to the countries economy. A healthy nation is attributable to the quality of its health care system and its impacts on the common person. The standards of living are improved because poor and low class people use their limited resources to meet their basic needs. Despite the opponents’ arguments, a free health care system leads to development of entrepreneurial minds that result into creation of more job opportunities. As a result, economical burden resulting for unemployed individuals is reduced. In addition, chronic illnesses are addressed at earlier stages before escalating into worse conditions. Moreover, epidemics such as swine flu and small pox are easily controlled. Therefore, the government should implement a free health care system to United States citizens.

Works Cited
  • Should All Americans Have the Right (be Entitled) to Health Care?” Right to Health Care ProCon.org. Web. 25 Nov. 2011. http://healthcare.procon.org/
  • Universal Health Care Is Not Free.” Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. Web. 25 Nov.2011. http://www.mccl.org/page.aspx?pid=372
  • Clemmitt, Marcia. “Health-Care Reform.” (n.d.): CQ Press: CQ Researcher. Web. 25 Nov. 2011.            brary.cqpress.com/EPPath/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2009082800&type=hitlist&num=0
  • Fox, Maggie. “U.S. Scores Dead Last Again in Healthcare Study| Reuters.” Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com. 23 June 2010. Web. 25 Nov. 2011 http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/06/23/us-usa-healthcare-last-idUSTRE65M0SU20100623
  • Gatter, Robert. “Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation, and Compromise.” Journal of Legal Medicine, 28.4 (2007): 593-599.
  • Stossel, John, and Andrew Sullivan. “American Health Care in Critical Condition – ABC News.”    ABCNews.com: Daily News, Breaking News, and Video Broadcasts – ABC News. Web.25 Nov. 2011. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=3580676&page=1

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