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Universal Health Care and Why It Should Be Brought to the US

Universal Health Care

Abstract

This study examined the benefits of universal health care and why it should be brought to the US. The research was carried out to determine the current situation in the US and how many people suffered due to inadequate health services. I discovered that more than 45 million Americans were uninsured. In addition, 80% of the uninsured worked in firms that provided low health care covers. In this study, we elaborate how many American citizens encounter financial hardships while trying to access better medical services. Hence, this has left the low-class and the middle-class citizens stranded as the problem of accessing health care for the uninsured has been on the rise in the recent past. It is clear that many developed countries have adopted the universal health care system and there is no reason for US to shy away from the same. This study explains why a reliable national health care system should be introduced in the US.

Universal health care is a health coverage system put in place to help people use palliative, rehabilitative, curative, preventive and promotive health services they need. The coverage ensures that the use of these services helps to curb the user’s financial hardship, while maintaining an effective and sufficient health services. It is a mere fact that the United States spends more per capita on health care when compared to other Western countries. In 2014, the percentage of national health expenditures for prescription drugs was 9.8%, percentage of national health expenditures for clinical and physical services was 19.9%, percentage of national health expenditures for continuing care retirement communities and nursing care facilities was 5.1% and percentage of national health expenditures for hospital care was 32.1%. The total national health expenditures summed up to $3.0 trillion in 2014.

The Universal Health Care comes in handy to help many nations overcome health care issues. As a matter of fact, it is referred to as a right since everyone deserves free medical care. Unless the United States embraces the universal health care, then the insurance bill will continue going higher and higher.

United States is the only developed nation that hasn’t put in place a structured universal health care system

Universal Health Care should be brought to the US because there are families who can’t afford health insurance, hence they might go bankrupt. Some people won’t mind paying insurance for their vehicles. That’s fine, but health services should be availed to everyone. In some cases, many people often get disappointed in the emergency rooms upon discovering that they are underinsured or uninsured. There are many sad cases in the US where victims suffer silently just because the health insurance packages are way beyond their budget. Therefore, such cases can be avoided if the US actively engage themselves in a universal health care system. Studies show that there are more and more middle class American citizens who are encountering financial hardship. In the past, this was thought to be a problem among the low-income Americans. As a matter of fact, there are more than 45 million Americans who do not have health coverage. It is ironical to see how the US discount the importance of 45 million American lives yet it is viewed to be the leader globally. In addition, the number of employers who can’t provide health coverage to their workers increases day by day. The percentage of employers offering health care dropped from 69% in 2011 to 60% in 2015. The trend is heading towards providing insurance covers that are high-deductible, hence leading to an ever-shrinking percentage of health care costs.

The bottom line of this argument is that eventually, many middle-class Americans may find themselves buried in health care debts with no access or low-quality health care. Health insecurity is at an all-time high. Medicaid has been reported to be the main cause of the fading employer-based coverage. It is evident that Medicaid will not be able to offset the losses in employer-based insurance, as the program continues to be slashed resulting in more uninsured citizens. Eventually, it becomes clear that health care for all is imperative and not just important when any American is just one pink slip away from becoming uninsured, when health care is becoming elusive to even well-to-do Americans and when thousands of American citizens lose their insurance every day.

Universal Health Care
Universal Health Care

Challenges resulting to health care crisis in the US

The health care crisis in the US is influenced by a two dimensional challenge: both the restricted access to care and the escalating costs of health care. The federal government remains a major provider of health care to Americans through public programs (Research, Veteran care, and Medicare) even without a universal health care program. Every state in America struggles to watch over the Medicare and Medicaid grants from the federal government and also pay for the health care of retired state employees, state employees, and prisoners. The costs at the state level have also risen exponentially and it is gradually becoming an increasing burden for the private sector as well.

American firms have been forced to reduce the amount of coverage they offer employees because costs for health care have increased nearly fourfold between 2001 and 2014. Ultimately, the increased costs also affect the household since businesses and the government do not pay the full cost of health care. It is estimated that the health care costs for a family will increase to $12,164 by the year 2030. Sadly, if that happens, then families will be forced to cut back on insurance or decide to drop it altogether.

 

Why America needs Universal Health Care.

The quick change from a cost reimbursement system to a capitation system is the main reason why health care costs have increased very fast. With the restricted access to health care for millions of Americans and ever escalating costs making up one major concern, the crisis in the American health care system can be easily resolved by the universal health care system. Often times, uninsured people shy away from visiting the doctor because they know they will be required to pay the full medical cost which they can’t afford.  The patient can only go to the hospital for treatment only if they are seriously ill and require expensive and immediate treatment. Therefore, when the universal health care system gets implemented appropriately, such patients will breathe a sigh of relief because they will get treatment for free.

On the other hand, there are uninsured patients who go to the hospital when pregnant and they constitute 38 per cent of all uninsured citizens seeking treatment in most urban hospitals, especially in the southern parts of US. Conditions such as bone/muscle, nervous system, digestive, circulatory, and respiratory disorders each made up between 5 and 10 percent of the uninsured seeking treatment. The remaining percentage was reported to have poisoning or recent injuries. It is now a priority to reform the current health care system both at the state and federal levels. Sometimes people wonder why it is so hard for the US to put in place a stable universal health care system, yet it is available in most parts of the world? Hence, the resilience has caused many unnecessary deaths and strict budgets to many American citizens. Health should be considered as a human right and not a personal choice or personal interest for some corporate firms in the Insurance industry.

The good news is that there are some states in the US that have welcomed the universal health care system. For example, a mass movement of people in Vermont State won the passage of a 2011 law that paved way for universal health care. The law guarantees access to care for all and mandated the state to finance its health system equitably and publicly.

Other neighboring countries like Canada, have gained much popularity and praises for its recent established universal health care system. In 1984, the country passed the Canadian Health Act and it guaranteed free medical services for all Canadian citizens. Provinces that comply with the set requirements are provided with relevant health equipment. The health care system is financed by collective taxes in Canada. The set requirements include public administration of insurance plan; reasonable access to service without direct payment; comprehensive coverage of services; and universal coverage of the population, portability of coverage, across provincial boundaries.

United States can equally adopt the same system and apply it in all states. This can help heal the current inconsistent and fragmented health care system. Plans to formulate policies that would allow affordable and sustainable health care in the US must be put in place as soon as possible. If the system can work in Canada, then most probably it will be the same case in the US. Policy makers should take a look at other neighboring countries like Canada that have put in place universal health insurance. That will help them identify potential solutions. The universal health insurance will ensure that there is complete reconstruction of the entire health care program.

However, there are some Veterans Administration and Medicare that have been in the forefront in providing better care at lower cost to the most vulnerable patients. Despite the overwhelming problems that US faces in regards to the health sector, there are some potential spots that are bright. The universal health care offers numerous benefits that can significantly improve the health care program. A single universal system would allow patients choose their physicians instead of insurance firms choosing for them. Everyone will get access to quality health care regardless of employment, age, wealth or health. It would eliminate labor-management disputes over health care benefits. The plan will help small businesses and struggling families by funding their health care with progressive taxes. It will help many families evade the issue of going bankrupt if any family member encountered serious illness or accident.

The government can easily identify and eliminate fraud by improving the Medicare system. With the universal system in place, the government can also negotiate fair prices for health services, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

 

Conclusion

The United States need cost-effective universal health care to reduce costs of health care by doing away with unnecessary and extraordinary administrative waste generated by the bureaucratic complexities of the Affordable Care Act and private health insurance firms. It’s time for the US to welcome universal health care because it exists in every other developed country. It is a fact that no other nation uses America’s unique private insurance system that denies equal health care altogether.  (Hopkins, 2005)

Conclusively, the universal health care will encourage better health care among all Americans by eliminating or reducing co-pays and deductibles. The system will surely provide better care to more people for less money. It is clear that there is a big problem in the health sector and it should be attended to accordingly. One tell there is a big problem when a country spends almost 40% more of its GDP than other high-spending countries, yet it consistently lugs behind when it comes to providing quality health services to its citizens. (Thorpe, 2011)

A national health system can be put in place if US can decide and get past the mental barrier to employer mandated insurance, or even universal entitlements, and look at the benefits that the program would bring to American citizens. Achievable measures should be put in place to embark on the journey towards bringing universal health care to the US.

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