Liberty, Justice, and Healthcare for all
ENG 122 Composition II
September 8, 2013
Imagine living in a country where when you are sick or hurt, you pick up the phone, make an appointment with your family doctor, and go get medical attention without having to worry about paying for co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions or any other health care related expense. Does this scenario sound too good to be true? Some Americans are lucky enough to have insurance that pays for at least part of their medical bills, but there are people in the United States that do without healthcare because they cannot afford health insurance or doctor bills. When these people do have a non-emergency medical situation, they end up going to an emergency room for care, causing overcrowding and long wait times in our hospitals. Most civilized countries in the world offer citizens health coverage, whether they work or not. Everyone is treated equally without regard to his or her income, race, or beliefs. Why does the United States not offer this for its citizens? Even though universal health coverage would make health care available to everyone, the United States does not have universal health coverage because the majority of the citizens do not want it. Americans feel that if the United States had universal health coverage they would pay higher taxes, the government would be moving away from democracy, and the quality of healthcare could decline for patients. America does not have universal health coverage because the citizens believe that they will have to pay higher taxes to fund the health insurance. The United States offers Medicare for senior citizens, ages 65 and older, and individual states offer Medicaid for citizens that are low income or have chronic health conditions that private health insurance will not cover. The citizens pay for these programs through payroll deductions every payday. Americans pay $549 billion each year for Medicare (Medicare.gov, n.d.) and $275 billion each year for Medicaid (Sebelius, 2012). Many people believe that if coverage for low-income and senior citizens cost this much, the cost to provide health coverage for the whole country must be significantly higher. With the high cost of healthcare in the United States, the per diem cost of universal health coverage would be outrageous and the cost to taxpayers would be higher than it is now. In order for universal health care to be affordable in the United States, the health care system would have to be reformed and the cost of health care be greatly reduced. Canada is the closest neighbor to the United States that has embraced universal health coverage. There, an average family pays 35% more in taxes than an average American family (Lammam and Veldhuis, 2011) (Marr and Frentz, 2013). While this is a significant increase in taxes, the out of pocket costs for healthcare would be greatly reduced if the United States adopted a universal healthcare system. There would be no copays or deductibles when going to the doctor. Medicine would be covered with no cost to the patient. There would be less time missed at work because citizens would not put off going to the doctor when a health issue arose. The government and citizens must consider if the exchange is beneficial. Is it better to pay higher taxes or higher health care costs? Robert LeBow, in his book Health Care Meltdown Confronting the Myths and fixing our failing system (2002), says that Americans already pay for uninsured citizens in some way, and if our system was revised we could cover every citizen while eliminating worry, pain, and suffering from being underinsured or uninsured. However, some say it does not seem fair for a single person, a father supporting a family, a wealthy business owner, and a homeless man to pay the same price for insurance. This is why the country is still debating whether a universal health care system should be put in place. Based on how much...
References: How is Medicare Funded? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.medicare.gov/about-us/how-medicare-is-funded/medicare-funding.html
Lammam, C., Veldhuis, N. (2011). Average Canadian family pays more in taxes than it does for food, clothing, and shelter combined. Retrieved from http://www.fraserinstitute.org/publicationdisplay.aspx?id=17445
Lasser, K., Himmelstein, D., & Woolhandler, S. (2006). Access to care, health status, and health disparities in the United States and Canada: results of a cross-national population-based survey. American Journal Of Public Health, 96(7), 1300-1307. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2004.059402
LeBow, R. (2002) Health Care Meltdown: Confronting the Myths of fixing our Failing System. Alan C. Hood and Co., Inc. Chambersburg, PA.
Marr, C., Frentz, N. (2013). Federal Income Taxes on Middle-Income Families Remain Near Historic Lows. Retrieved From http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3151
Rogers, Karl. (2012). Universal Health Care. Downloaded to Kindle from http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Health-Care-ebook/dp/B0085HK712/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378669249&sr=1-1-fkmr1&keywords=Universal+healthcare%2C+Karl+Rogers
Rovner, Julie. (September 12, 2012). More Americans have Health Insurance, But not many more. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/09/12/161012698/more-americans-have-health-insurance-but-not-many-more
Socialized medicine. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved August 26, 2013, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socialized medicine
Sebelius, K. (2012). Actuarial Report on the Financial Outlook for Medicaid. Retrieved from http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Financing-and-Reimbursement/Downloads/medicaid-actuarial-report-2012.pdf
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