Is Socialized Medicine the Answer?
Americans are rightly worried about the economy…and it doesn’t seem to be getting better fast. One of the chief domestic worries Americans is the high cost of health insurance. Health insurance costs are rising considerably faster than wages and income and presently over 47,000,000 million Americans are going without it. An alarming statistic from the U.S. Census Bureau is that the largest group of Americans to be declining employer-sponsored insurance has a yearly income around $75,000.
To put this in perspective the American 2008 poverty level for a family of four is $22,200. Add or subtract $3,600 for each person to find the level for your own personal life. Since $35,600 for a family of eight is considered poverty level and if Americans homes with a yearly income of $75,000 are finding it difficult to obtain or retain health insurance, America is indeed in dire straits.
The health insurance issue quickly became a political focus in the 2008 campaign. Republicans says that tax incentives and eradicating outdated tax breaks are the answer to making health insurance more affordable. Democrats are in favor of socialized (publicly-funded) medicine that will have an approximate $110 billion price tax while quickly assuring Americans that it won’t be funded by raising taxes on middle class families. Presently, the U.S. has a safety-net system which provides hospital, community health centers, and medical providers to give emergency care to individuals regardless of their ability to pay. Much of the safety-nets’ revenues are financed through federal, state, and local funds and are influenced by those policies. However, many of the safety net hospitals and clinics are floundering because policy-makers are reallocating such funds to other areas.
America is the only, wealthy industrialized nation that doesn’t provide universal health care for their citizens. However, it seems advisable to review the successes, or lack of it, of other industrialized countries, such as England, Canada, or Australia, with their socialized medicine system. We definitely need to make sure it is the right answer to our health insurance problem before we jump on the band-wagon of socialized medicine with universal coverage as its goal.