Is it acceptable for the government to require that each individual in a society pay a small fee in order to save the lives of sick children?
If you answered yes to the question above, then congratulations you believe in some form of socialized health care! The reason why the example above is an example of socialized health care is because each person in the society is giving a small amount of their own personal funds for a service that would be publicly available to all of the dying children. Now just substitute “a small fee” with “a small percentage of your income” and substitute “sick children” with “all members of the population” and you have universal health care.
If you answered no then let me start by saying that you’re heartless and that your lack of compassion is disturbing. However, I would like to ask you yet another question:
If you were the sick child with no money in a society which is abundant in wealth and resources, wouldn’t you wish they gave up a very small amount in order to save your life?
Sometimes it’s helpful to put ourselves in the shoes of others (figuratively, of course) in order to understand their situation. Hopefully, you now believe in the central goal of socialized health care. Now that your emotional side is in favor of universal health care, it is time to convince your rational side.
Why is universal health care any better?
Universal health care would save the country billions on a yearly basis.
Switching the nation to a single-payer system would save the country 1.1 trillion in its first decade according to several sources. This is done by reducing overhead costs in administration. This is also done because a focus on preventative care would allow for diseases to be treated early, which is when it is most cost effective to treat. When individuals lack insurance it forces them to put off treatment until they are extremely ill, which makes it extremely difficult and expensive to treat. Encouraging preventative care would not only allow the country to save billions in curing diseases, it will also allow people to be healthier for longer. When people are healthier for longer, they remain in the workforce more consistently and for more time. This would not only bring wealth to the nation through tax revenue, but there would also be less money going into programs such as unemployment benefits, food stamps, or welfare as many of these people receive from these programs because they are unable to work due to an illness.
Universal health care would place a larger focus on preventative care.
Due to the extremely high prices of health care, which is mostly due to the lack of socialized health care, many people put off simple disorders until they become much worse and much more expensive to treat. Instead of insurance companies running advertisements for their service it would be even more beneficial if a similar amount of advertisements were used to promote a healthy lifestyle (preferably a vegan one), vaccines, and appropriately timed checkups/tests. The frequent checkups and tests would not only be free, but also heavily encouraged. It is fairly easy to see how an emphasis on preventative care would allow for diseases to be prevented as well as allowing the diseases to be treated when they are most cost effective to treat.
Universal health care may more heavily focus research on finding cures as opposed to only treating the symptoms.
Because capitalism focuses solely on incentives, it is clear to see that a capitalistic health care society would be more incentivized to have a person remain with a disease and continuously purchase symptom-treating drugs for the remainder of their lives as opposed to a single purchase of a drug that cures.
For example, imagine that research to find the cure for AIDS would cost 1000 dollars. Imagine there are 2000 people with AIDS and that the pharmaceutical company figures the supply and demand would allow for the sale of this drug to be 1 dollar each. The pharmaceutical company would therefore make a profit of 1000 dollars. However, imagine that the research for a drug to slow down the process of AIDS costs 500 dollars and that the price of these drugs would be 50 cents per month for the remainder of the patient’s life. It is obvious that the pharmaceutical company is incentivized to invest in the latter even though it does not align with the ideal solution. If health care is run solely as a business then it is incentivized to keep people sick. This is the same reason why prisons should not be run in a capitalistic manner, because it encourages a system where rehabilitation does not fully occur and the prisoners return. (But that is a topic for a later post)
Universal health care would eliminate the highest source of bankruptcy in this nation.
The biggest reason why people file for bankruptcy in the United States are medical bills. The surprising fact about this is that over 70% of those who filed bankruptcy, due to medical expenses, already had some form of insurance! The current health care system we have in place causes the poor and middle class to be in a constant negative spiral of “I can’t pay for extraordinary insurance because I have no money and I have no money because I couldn’t pay for extraordinary insurance.” In other nations with universal health care the rate of bankruptcy due to medical bills is close to zero. Bankruptcy due to illness may still remain, but in much lower quantities than with our current system. Bankruptcy due to illness may still occur because many diseases are currently incurable, but the reason why it will be in lower quantities is because more people will be able to be treated for curable diseases in a universal health care system. This would allow them to reenter the workforce and remain out of bankruptcy.
Universal health care would encourage entrepreneurship.
There are currently millions of individuals across the United States with desires to start their own business, but the costs of health care are their biggest deterrent. A recent survey found that there are approximately 3.8 million potential entrepreneurs that have yet to take the next step towards fulfilling their dreams due to the current costs of health care.
Universal health care is about as American as apple pie.
The American dream is all about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, it seems that our lack of universal health care is infringing on these rights. The right to life is heavily infringed on the millions of Americans without health insurance who are only able to receive care when in emergency conditions. Liberty is heavily infringed on the individuals who cannot switch careers or start their own business because the other job may not offer the benefit of health insurance and they could not afford it otherwise. The pursuit of happiness is heavily infringed on the families that lack insurance and live in constant fear of falling ill or not being able to pay for the extremely high price of care in our current system.
Universal health care would allow the United States to have a healthier population.
Despite being one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, having the best doctors on the planet, and having an abundance in resources, the United States ranks 37th in the world for health care behind almost every industrialized nation. Our average life expectancy is below that of the average industrialized nation, our infant mortality is terrible, our emergency rooms are overcrowded because it is the only place for care that many people receive, and our medicine is not as effective because people wait until it’s too late, yet somehow our costs are the highest of any other nation! If these facts don’t raise any red flags for you, then perhaps you are purposely ignoring the fact that a socialized system of health care is superior.
Universal health care is morally superior to our current system.
It is easy to see how immoral our current system is by seeing how ineffective it is at providing treatment for those who need it most. It sounds highly immoral that we have an abundance of resources yet we choose to make health care a privilege instead of a public good. We must stop turning our back on the poor and middle class and reform our system immediately.
As you can see universal health care will do much more than just expand health care to everyone, it will also improve our system in the several ways shown above. The power to make the change is in your hands. Call your local congressman and tell them you support universal health care and ask them what they’re doing to make the change. If election season is coming up, then vote for the politician who is in favor of a universal health care system.
Have any objections? Let me know in the comments section below!