The Importance of Mandatory Health Care

Topics: Health economics, Health care, Universal health care Pages: 8 (2516 words) Published: October 20, 2010
Why should Mandatory Health Care be a necessity? Mandatory health insurance is important to improve the well being and the health of our citizens. Study show that the United States health system are well below other countries when comparing life expectancies of our citizens to those of China, Europe and even Canada with our health system. There are many aspects that play a roll in improving our health system, but the three major factors are preventive care, accessibility and health care reform. Studies show that preventive medicine can decrease cost and have a better treatment outcome. Better access presumably improves health outcomes. Each community should have some form of health clinic that patients can go for care. Health care reform is greatly needed in America in order to be up to standard with the other countries that are leading the world in health care and life expectancy. With mandatory health insurance all citizens will be able to have access to a doctor without an excuse before a minor problem becomes a major or long term expense.

Preventive Care
One major factor in having mandatory health insurance is allowing the patients to have access to preventive care. The first element in Hillary Clinton's plan was to "focus on prevention: wellness not sickness." John Edwards has stated that "study after study shows that primary and preventive care greatly reduces future health care costs, as well as increasing patients' health.” Mike Huckabee has said that a focus on prevention "would save countless lives, pain and suffering by the victims of chronic conditions, and billions of dollars." Barack Obama has argued that "too little is spent on prevention and public health."(New England Journal of Medicine. 2008) Indeed, some evidence does suggest that there are opportunities to save money and improve health through prevention. Preventable causes of death, such as tobacco smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity, and misuse of alcohol have been estimated to be responsible for 900,000 deaths annually — nearly 40% of total yearly mortality in the United States.(Mokdad,Marks,Stroup and Gerbinder. 2000).

Moreover, some of the measures identified by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, such as counseling adults to quit smoking, screening for colorectal cancer, and providing influenza vaccination, reduce mortality either at low cost or at a cost savings (Maciosek, Coffield, Edwards, Flottemesch ,Goodman and Solberg. 2006).

Health conditions diagnosed early through routine screening not only respond better to treatment, but that treatment is usually less expensive and often less aggressive than if the condition were permitted to advance. People with health insurance are more likely to see their physician for screening exams such as annual physicals, mammograms, prostate exams and once conditions are diagnosed, they are more likely to receive treatment.

Researchers at George Washington University found that women under 65 who had no health insurance or a certain restrictive type of health insurance were less likely to undergo cancer screening procedures than were women who were insured. Even those individuals who policies did not cover preventive care were more likely than the uninsured to receive regular preventive screening, because they had an established relationship with a physician who monitored their health care (Live strong, 2010).

Life Expectancy
A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier, according to international numbers provided by the Census Bureau and domestic numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics. Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, had the longest life expectancy, at 83.5 years, according to the Census Bureau. It was followed by Japan, Macau, San Marino and Singapore (USA Today, 2007). Researchers said several...
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