American’s are now being faced with the prospect of being forced to purchase health insurance. Many nations have formed some type of nationalized health care with some successes and some failures. In some places private insurance is allowed to provide supplemental coverage and in others private insurance is banned. However, the problem is still in deciding if this is in the best interest of the American public.
The Benefits of Universal Health Care Coverage
There are several benefits to a universal health care coverage program. One of the top benefits is that everyone will have coverage and this will eliminate the potential for financial ruin if a medical emergency arises for many individuals and families. Countries that have this type of plan in place experience longer life spans, lower childhood mortality rates and lower health care costs. There is also less risk of an infectious epidemic as there are higher rates of vaccinations and people are more likely to seek medical treatment early.
The Potential Negatives
The opposite side of the argument is that a publicly funded universal health care plan will be paid for with tax-payer money. In addition, it limits medical providers by controlling the costs of their services. It is believed that a free market society will produce competition and therefore lower costs with increased innovation. Consumers will also have the ability to choose their treatment course and work with their medical providers to determine the best options for their problems.
Choosing Who Gets Care
Another issue with universal care is that even those who do not care for themselves will get expensive coverage potentially at the expense of others. A drug addict will continue to get treatment despite their inability to care for themselves and the destructive path they continue to tread. While these people should get the care they need, it does not necessarily need to be at the taxpayer’s expense. However, currently when anyone fails to pay their medical expenses, it also falls to the taxpayer through higher medical bills.
Motivating Health Care Workers
Many skilled health care providers work long hours and have high education expenses in the hopes of finding a lucrative career. If the fees and salaries that they are paid are no longer worthwhile, less workers will enter the field. Currently, there is no proof that income would be limited for these professionals however. In fact, in many countries that already offer universal health care, there are a higher percentage of medical graduates than there currently is in the United States.
With forced universal health care coverage a very near reality, it seems the best solution is to provide a combination of universal coverage with the availability of private coverage. This ensures that those that can afford it receive the care that they desire while everyone has access to a health care plan. Meanwhile as politicians continue to decide the future of this country’s health care, it is important to have a quality health insurance plan in place.