The issue on Universal Healthcare is not a new one by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Universal Healthcare has been one of the issues that has been used the platform for many past presidential candidates. As such, the issue of Universal Healthcare and healthcare in general is a very important issue for the American public. The healthcare cost in the United States is becoming excessive and people are unable to afford or obtain any type of healthcare. It cannot be denied that there is something wrong with the system today. The rate of the uninsured and underinsured is rising every year.
Not having health coverage leads to 18,000 deaths a year (Davis 12). The implementation of a Universal Health Care system will be able to ensure that all residents, regardless of their position in life, maintain coverage in the event of injury or the need to pursue a general practitioner (Davis 14). This type of system would increase taxpayer dollars, burden the government when funding is not available, cut funds from certain programs, and increase the number of patients to each nurse. The United States is an industrialized nation that has widely funded healthcare system (Davis 14).
A Universal healthcare system could hinder or benefit the financial system in the United States. In addition to these growing concerns is the growing number of unsatisfied Americans. This short discourse will attempt to shed more light on the issue of Universal Healthcare and the implications of such a program in the United States. In doing so, there will be a brief discussion on the background of Universal Healthcare, beginning with its origins in Europe and the performance in such areas. This will be followed by the former proposals to implement a system of Universal Healthcare in the United States.
The argumentative segments of this discussion will shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of implementing a Universal Healthcare program as well as the feasibility of doing such. Background: The universal healthcare system began in the United Kingdom in 1948 (Davis 12). Canada, France and Japan have a universal healthcare system that is beneficial. Their performance rankings are higher than in the U. S. Canada is ranked 30th, France is 1st, Japan is 10th, and the U. S. is ranked 37th in overall performance (World Health Organization, 1).
During the time of the Great Depression importance was placed on unemployment insurance and benefits for the elderly and the Social Security Act was passed as a result. The U. S. financial system suffered and it became difficult for Americans to obtain health insurance after World War II. The government decided to offer tax breaks to companies that offered health insurance to their employees to control the suffering financial system. However, the cost of health insurance continued to increase and led President Johnson to sign the Medicaid and Medicare bill.
The cost of health care increase and the recurrence of health insurance restructuring as a key subject helped the health care business to multiply. Employers believed they did not have an option, so they joined in the HMO insurance as a low cost option to the growing health insurance premiums (Rise of HMO, n. d. ). In 1993 the HMOs were created. Since 1993 our health care costs continue to increase and the ability to afford health care coverage is out of their reach. The Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey for 2006 reports that a total of 46,883 people are uninsured in the U. S. , and a total of 80,072 are covered by government plans such as Medicare and Medicaid.
These 46,883 uninsured people could qualify for Medicare and Medicaid, but many of them do not know that these programs exist. The people who do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare only have the option to pay for health insurance through their employers or buy individual health insurance. Since the cost of health care premiums are so high many Americans are confronted with, do they continue to pay the high healthcare premiums or drop their coverage and ultimately they give up their necessities.
According to the Census Population Survey in 2004 approximately 414,000 or 22. 1 percent of New Mexico’s population is uninsured and this was an increase of 21. 1 percent of the population in 2002. This ranks New Mexico second in the nation for uninsured In New Mexico the number of Hispanics that are uninsured is 55. 9% of 45% of the population. The most common reason 67 percent of people stated why they are not insured were they cannot afford it. The highest uninsured rates are in Northwest and Southern NM and Albuquerque has the lowest. New Mexico Service Dept, 1).
The U. S. Department of Health and Human services report in 2006 the NM’s overall performance is in the average range. It is the belief that the current presidential candidates’ proposed methodology for carrying out a Universal Healthcare program is somewhat unrealistic. John Edwards, 2008 presidential candidate, believes that the time has come for such a system to impose the costs of providing it back onto some of the employers of workers (Edwards, 208).
Thus Edwards suggests that companies should give this health care coverage as a basic human entitlement, likely to remove some of the financial burden off the federal spending level. Hillary Clinton, another presidential candidate, suggests placing most of the funding back on the government in the form of a budgetary allowance of $110 billion per year for mandatory coverage (Woodward, 28). However, this would raise taxes on the wealthy in order to offset the governmental expenditure, which would likely anger more individuals who feel they should not be given the burden of paying for less-fortunate individuals.
Barack Obama suggests using the new universal health care system to cover only children rather than adults, only costing the federal government $65 billion, rather than the total which was proposed by Hillary Clinton (Woodward, 28). This too targets the wealthy citizen for funding this program, which likely provides greater resistance to why these new programs have not yet been developed; as elite groups have significant influence in capitalistic economies (Henslin, 135).
The Former Proposal for Universal Healthcare One of the main platforms of President Bill Clinton when he first ran for office was healthcare reform. The 37 million uninsured Americans applauded his planned reforms loudly as President Clinton introduced his daunting healthcare reform proposal soon after he was elected (Matthews 200). As history reveals, this proposal was not welcomed with the same open arms that elected President Bill Clinton to office. The much vaunted Healthcare Reform that he promised had failed.
The failure of the Clinton Administration with regard to its Healthcare Reform Program was due to the failure of President Clinton to communicate his vision and the lack of support from the majority groups (Matthews 201). It did not take long for the plan to fail as even during the discussions in congress the President’s plan was already rejected for being too costly and inefficient. The reforms that President Bill Clinton wanted implemented had an adverse effect as shown in the various states that had implemented the Clinton healthcare plan (Cihak, Williams and Ferrera 197).
The healthcare plan caused increased costs instead of reducing the number of uninsured Americans. It also led to the increase in the number of uninsured Americans. As mentioned earlier, another of the causes of the failure of the Clinton Healthcare plan was the lack of viable sources of funding. While most agreed that a universal healthcare plan was well suited for the general public, there was no consensus with regard to how it was going to be funded (Cihak, Williams and Ferrera 197). There was no support from major business groups and trade administrations.
Instead, a number of these groups lobbied heavily against the universal healthcare plan of President Clinton (Matthews 202). Arguments for Universal Health care It is the right of every nation to live a life free from diseases. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the country is well and healthy for the health of the nation will reflect upon the economy. A healthy country is a wealthy country. A person that is free of any illness will be able to resume his working activities efficiently. Healthcare is a right because it is connected to the life, happiness and freedom.
There are nagging problems on the U. S. healthcare system and a solution may be a Universal Healthcare system like Canada, France, and the UK. How come if the U. S. is the best healthcare system in the world we cannot provide healthcare. Those who are uninsured merely ignore or try to self heal themselves and when the time comes when the illness develops and they did go to the hospital is that they incur more expenses then if they did not go, which is why the U. S. is ranked number 37th on overall health performance (U. S. Health & Human Services, n. ).
Since healthcare is a right then, it should not be given to the selected few, and if a Universal Healthcare system existed, everyone regardless of ability to pay would be insured. Right now the trend in the U. S. is that access to healthcare is directly related to income and race. By implementing a Universal Healthcare system this would allow all individuals regardless of socioeconomic status to receive benefits. A Universal Healthcare system would help doctors to focus more on their patients rather than the money that he/she is about to make.
A centralized, national database makes diagnosis and treatments easier for doctors. Even though profit is important, we should not make light of the lives involved in this area. When lives are at stake the focus should not be on profits alone. Doctors are often limited by insurance practices such as what tests can be ordered and what procedures they can do. Also doctors have to perform protective medicine to prevent law suits against them. A Universal Healthcare system would permit doctors and nurses to focus on what is best for their patient (Messerli, 213).
People have to spend more of the money they earn before taxes on health care expenses and the people who could take health care for granted are being priced out of the health care that they need. People are finding themselves in financial trouble because of health care costs and this is the reason why most of the uninsured easily shy away from receiving medical care because they are afraid of the expenses that will accumulate if they do. Not only is health care unaffordable for individuals, but it is unaffordable for businesses.
If businesses have to spend more on health insurance premiums, the less money they will have give employees raises, hire new employees (Messerli, 214). Arguments against Universal Health Care With a Universal Healthcare system in the U. S. it would increase waiting times to see the physician or for surgeries. This would suggest that people would be considered more like numbers than patients due to the mandates at the government level. The U. S. currently maintains what is referred to as a lack of a high-performance system (American Academy of Family Physicians, 18).
Under our current system people have wait times that are already extended, but with a Universal Health care the wait times would be even longer. If a patient tore their ACL, they would have to wait a couple of months to get it taken care of. Having to live with a nonemergency would be painful, uncomfortable and risky because it can lead to an emergency or even death, such as gallstones or hernia. With a Universal Healthcare system it would increase taxpayers’ dollars to pay for the people who are unemployed or undocumented who will end up receiving health care without contributing to the well being of society.
These are also the people who will abuse the system and since they do not contribute tax dollars for a Universal Healthcare system, they will not do anything to maintain a healthy lifestyle. John Edwards stated in an interview with Tim Russert that a Universal Healthcare would cost about $90 to $120 billion dollars a year so it would increase our taxes. To pay for a healthcare plan there has to be a revenue source (Phillips, 314). Americans would not have to pay so much money for healthcare insurance, but they would end up paying for it with taxes.
The unemployment rate tells a lot about the economy. Currently there are thousands of people that are unemployed and unable to provide for their basic needs. With a Universal Health care system the unemployment rate will skyrocket because the people who work in the health insurance business would be out of jobs and ruin the economy in the U. S. According to the U. S. Department of Labor the unemployment rate for December, 2007 is at 4. 9% and New Mexico’s rate is at 3. 1%. Also the hospital record clerks that worked with the insurance companies would be out of a job.
This would be a hard transition and the U. S. would have to go through a whole new round of patient record creation and database construction. This would cost a huge amount of money and time. Conclusion As shown in this discourse, there are clear arguments for and against the implementation of a Universal Health Care Program in the United States. From the perspective of the pros, the main advantage of implementing a Universal Health Care Program would be the standardization of medical costs which in turn results in better health care for more people.
The treatment of patients would no longer be viewed as something commercial, as it has over the years, but rather as the noble profession that it really is. There is a need for the United States Government to ensure the health and safety of its citizens. Amid the rising medical expenses and insurance premiums costs, the only other alternative remains to be the Universal Health Care Program. Alternatively, it has also been shown that while the Universal Health Care Program may present the solution that many are looking for on the healthcare issue, it may also cause more problems for Americans.
The reason for this is that while it may seem like the ideal system there has been no suggestion yet on how to fund the implementation of such a plan. As shown in the arguments against Universal Health Care Program, there are no funds to cover the implementation of these plans on such a wide scale. This would also mean that all the homeless and non-contributors to society would be living off the payments and tax dollars of others. This inequity resulting from the lack of solid funding is one of the major reasons why a Universal Health Care Program should not be implemented in the United States.
The real solution to this problem lies in implementation. As shown by both sides, a Universal Health Care Program is indeed an ideal system that would benefit a number of Americans. On the other hand, the costs of such make the plan difficult to execute. The key therefore lies in being to find a way to implement the Universal Health Care Program in an efficient manner. America’s healthcare system would certainly be taking it to the next level if it could successfully implement this plan.