Universal health care refers to the provision of health care services by a government to all its citizens (insurancespecialists.com).Such a health care coverage means that each citizen is able to access health care services which are of standard quality. In the United States, about 25% of its citizens are provided with such a service funded by a government. These citizens mainly comprise the elderly, the armed forces personnel and the poor (insurancespecialists.com).
In many western countries like Russia, Canada and some countries in South America and Western Europe, the governments provide universal health care programs to all the citizens. In the United States, the segments of the society which do not receive health care services provided by the government usually pay for their health care coverage. This has emerged as a challenge especially to the middle class citizens.
The issue of universal health care provision in the United States is therefore a debatable one. There are those who support it and those who are opposed to it. This assignment is a discussion of the topic. It starts with a thesis statement, then a discussion of the advantages of universal health care provision, its disadvantages and a conclusion, which restates the thesis and the argument behind it.
The government of United States of America should provide universal health care services to its citizens because health care is a basic necessity to every citizen, regardless of age, sex, race, religion, and socio-economic status.
The provision of universal health care services would ensure that doctors and all medical practitioners focus their attention only on treating the patients, unlike in the current system, where doctors and medical practitioners sped a lot of time pursuing issues of health care insurance for their patients, which is sometimes associated with malpractice and violation of medical ethics especially in cases where the patient is unable to adequately pay for his or her health care bills (balancedpolitics.org).
The provision of universal health care services would also make health care service provision in the United States more efficient and effective. In the current system in which each citizen pays for his or her health care, there is a lot of inefficiency, brought about by the bureaucratic nature of the public health care sector (balancedpolitics.org).
Universal health care would also promote preventive health care, which is crucial in reducing deaths as well as illness deterioration. The current health care system in the United States is prohibitive of preventive health care, which makes many citizens to wait until their illness reach critical conditions due to the high costs of going for general medical check-ups. The cost of treating patients with advanced illnesses is not only expensive to the patients and the government but also leads to deaths which are preventable (balancedpolitics.org).
The provision of universal health care services would be a worthy undertaking, especially due to the increased number of uninsured citizens, which currently stands at about 45 million (balancedpolitics.org).
The provision of universal health care services would therefore promote access to health care services to as many citizens as possible, which would reduce suffering and deaths of citizens who cannot cater for their health insurance. As I mentioned in the thesis, health care is a basic necessity to all citizens and therefore providing health care services to all would reduce inequality in the service access.
Universal health care would also come at a time when health care has become seemingly unaffordable for many middle income level citizens and business men in the United States. This has created a nation of inequality, which is unfair because every citizen pays tax, which should be used by the government to provide affordable basic services like health care. It should be mentioned here that the primary role of any government is to protect its citizens, among other things, from illness and disease (Shi and Singh 188).
Lastly not the least, the provision of universal health care in the United States would work for the benefit of the country and especially the doctors because it would create a centralized information centre, with database of all cases of illnesses, diseases and their occurrence and frequency. This would make it easier to diagnose patients, especially to identify any new strain of a disease, which would further help in coming up with adequate medication for such new illness or disease (balancedpolitics.org).
One argument against the provision of universal health care in the United States is that such a policy would require enormous spending in terms of taxes to cater for the services in a universal manner. Since health care does not generate extra revenue, it would mean that the government would either be forced to cut budgetary allocations for other crucial sectors of general public concern like defense and education, or increase the taxes levied on the citizens, thus becoming an extra burden to the same citizens (balancedpolitics.org).
Another argument against the provision of universal health care services is that health care provision is a complex undertaking, involving varying interests, likes and preferences.
The argument that providing universal health care would do away with the bureaucratic inefficiency does not seem to be realistic because centralizing the health care sector would actually increase the bureaucracy, leading to further inefficiencies, especially due to the enormous number of clientele to be served. Furthermore, it would lead to lose of business for the insurance providers as well as the private health care practitioners, majority of whom serve the middle income citizens (balancedpolitics.org).
Arguably, the debate for the provision of universal health care can be seen as addressing a problem which is either not present, or negligible. This is because there are adequate options for each citizen to access health care services. Apart from the government hospitals, the private hospitals funded by non-governmental organizations provide health care to those citizens who are not under any medical cover (balancedpolitics.org).
Universal health care provision would lead to corruption and rent seeking behavior among policy makers. Since the services would be for all, and may sometimes be limited, corruption may set in making the medical practitioners even more corrupt than they are because of increased demand of the services. This may further lead to deterioration of the very health care sector the policy would be aiming at boosting through such a policy.
The provision of universal health care would limit the freedom of the US citizens to choose which health care program is best for them. It is important to underscore that the United States, being a capitalist economy is composed of people of varying financial abilities.
The provision of universal health care would therefore lower the patients’ flexibility in terms of how, when and where to access health care services and why. This is because such a policy would throw many private practitioners out of business, thus forcing virtually all citizens to fit in the governments’ health care program, which may not be good for everyone (Niles 293).
Lastly not the least, the provision of universal health care would be unfair to those citizens who live healthy lifestyles so as to avoid lifestyle diseases like obesity and lung cancer, which are very common in America. Many of the people suffering from obesity suffer due to their negligence or ignorance of health care advice provided by the government and other health care providers. Such a policy would therefore seem to unfairly punish those citizens who practice good health lifestyles, at the expense of the ignorant (Niles 293).
After discussing the pros and cons of universal health care provision in the United States, I restate my thesis that “The government of United States of America should provide universal health care to its citizens because health care is a basic necessity to every citizen, regardless of age, sex, race, religion, and socio economic status”, and argue that even though there are arguments against the provision of universal health care, such arguments, though valid, are not based on the guiding principle of that health care is a basic necessity to all citizens of the United States.
The arguments are also based on capitalistic way of thinking, which is not sensitive to the plight of many citizens who are not able to pay for their insurance health care cover.
The idea of providing universal health care to Americans would therefore save many deaths and unnecessary suffering by many citizens. Equally important to mention is the fact that such a policy may be described as a win win policy both for the rich and the poor or middle class citizens because it would not in any way negatively affect the rich, because as long as they have money, they would still be able to customize their health care through the employment family or personal doctors as the poor and the middle class go for the universal health care services.
Balanced politics. “Should the Government Provide Free Universal Health Care for All Americans?” Balanced politics: universal health. Web. Balanced politics.org. 8 august http://www.balancedpolitics.org/universal_health_care.htm
Insurance specialists. “Growing Support for Universal Health Care”. Insurance information portal. Web. Insurance specialists.com 8 august 2011. Niles, Nancy. Basics of the U.S. Health Care System. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2010:293. Print. Shi, Leiyu and Singh, Douglas. Delivering Health Care in America: A Systems Approach. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2004:188.Print.
Niles, Nancy. Basics of the U.S. Health Care System. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2010:293. Print.
Shi, Leiyu and Singh, Douglas. Delivering Health Care in America: A Systems Approach. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2004:188.Print.