Free Healthcare Should be Universal

Topics: Health economics, Universal health care, Medicine Pages: 6 (1604 words) Published: May 5, 2015
1. Introduction
Walter Cronkite, once said “America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” In a time where emergency rooms are flooded with preventable illnesses and waiting lists for doctor visits expand into months, Cronkite’s quote certainly holds true. Around the planet the majority of developed nations have some form of healthcare infrastructure. The majority of these nations have healthcare plans, defined by some variety of government-subsidized sponsorship, which is available to the citizens via government assistance. The key exception to this is the United States, with the majority of health insurance and care being provided by private-sector companies. Aside from a few developed nations, the majority of people across the planet lack healthcare. According to Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) “Universal health coverage is the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer. In light of this, it is absolutely necessary for healthcare to be universal and I’d like to explain why. 2. Universal Healthcare is Non-Discriminatory

2.1 Equal provisions for wealth spectrum, race spectrum, health spectrum Today, healthcare practices in most countries are discriminatory. People are discriminated against based on race, gender, age, wealth, and health. In developed nations, insurance providers have been known to charge higher premiums to people ‘at-risk’ for medical conditions. Women and many minorities often times pay far higher premiums than the norm for their physical condition. Brad Tuttle in an article for Time shared that a study conducted in California in the 90’s found that the female demographic pays an average one billion dollars more than males for the same coverage. In addition, ninety-two percent of leading insurance plans participates in the practice of ‘gender rating’. Even more egregiously, the majority of these plans do not cover maternity or female health procedures. Marcia Greenberger shared in a CNN publication that women with Cesarean sections or had been prior victims of domestic violence can be outright denied coverage for these so-called “pre-existing conditions.” This form of policy discrimination also applies to young people. As of 2012 the average adult over sixty years old necessitates three times as much healthcare and treatment as a twenty-five year old. Thus, in order to give the elderly modest discounts on their insurance premiums, healthy young people find themselves paying over one hundred percent more to compensate. So far these issues only affect the developed world. In developing nations or poorer regions of the planet, the situation is far more dire. Although the majority of Asian countries have subsidized public healthcare, the standard of care in these countries is substandard. A key example of this is India. Although the country has government hospitals, the quality of care provided is far from what one may expect to receive in more developed nations. From 2010-13 I lived in India and personally saw the inefficiency and general ineptitude of government healthcare in India. As a result, the majority of Indians who can afford to go to India’s top-tier private practices and hospitals, where they pay roughly eighty-six percent of healthcare costs out of pocket, which is illustrated in the WHO’s 2013 World Health Report graphic below. The lower middle class and poor who cannot afford private care have no option other than go to government clinics. Africa is a whole other issue altogether. According to demographic studies undertaken by the World Health Organization, the majority of African nations have less than one doctor or medical professional per one thousand citizens. In locales like that there is no healthcare system or insurance infrastructure to speak of. The majority of care is provided by transient charity organizations and non-profits such as the Red...

Cited: Greenberger, Marcia. “Stop Sex Discrimination in Health Plan Costs.” CNN. N.p., 20 March 2012. Web. 1 April 2015.
Say, My. “Will the Health Care Law Help or Hurt Small Businesses?” Forbes. N.p. Web. 1 April 2015.
Siegel, Susan E. “Healthcare is Local.” Clinton Foundation. N.p., 17 July 2013. Web. 15 March 2015.
Tuttle, Brad. “When Consumers Pay More Due to Race or Gender.” Time. N.p., 18 May 2012. Web. 15 March 2015.
UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). General Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (Art. 12 of the Covenant). 11 August 2000. Web. 1 April 2015.
World Health Organization. The World Health Report: Health Systems Financing, The Path to Universal Coverage. WHO Press. 2010. Web. 15 March 2015.
World Health Organization. The World Health Report 2013: Research for Universal Health Coverage. WHO Press. 2013. Web. 15 March 2015.
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