As we have learned in recent weeks the longstanding, ???survival of the fittest??? capitalist ideal is no longer working for our economy. How then, can we expect the same philosophy to work for our health care system In a country that is so wealthy why are there so many not receiving the care that they need because they cannot afford it According to the World Health Organization, the United States ranks no. 37th in health systems around the world. This great country is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. Shouldn??™t health care be regarded as a basic constitutional right, such as the right to bear arms and freedom of speech The ???basic coverage for all??? concept has been successful throughout the industrialized world in countries such as Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and all over Western Europe.
Why can??™t it work in the United States One reason is that Americans just don??™t see eye to eye on the issue. In the article, Getting the Party Started, from the journal Modern Healthcare, authors Gregg Blesch, Matthew DoBias, and Jessica Zigmond, answer questions concerning the different approaches to health care reform between Democrats and Republicans. The article was written one week before the Democratic convention took place and stresses the important role healthcare reform would play on both party??™s convention agendas. The article defines the Democrats position as ???a proposal calling for universal health care, but stopped short of making it a mandate???(6). The Democratic Platform Standing Committee wrote, ???We believe that covering all is not just a moral imperative, but is necessary to making our health system workable and affordable???(6). Although, the platform that would be adopted at the Republican Convention was not yet available at the time of press, the article suggests that the GOP platform was ???expected to build in the free-market approach favored by President Bush??? (6). A healthcare bill recently introduced by Senators, Richard Burr (R-N.
C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would ???effectively give individuals a tax credit for a limited amount of their health insurance costs??? (6) was also mentioned as an expected GOP proposal. Considering the positions of both political parties, it is obvious that the Democratic Proposal is leaning more favorably toward of a comprehensive universal health care plan. As the Democratic platform suggests, basic coverage for all should be a ???moral imperative???, defined by the World English Dictionary as an unavoidable obligation: a thing that must be done because it is right, regardless of opposition or difficulty. Considering this position couldn??™t one argue that the right to health care is no different than other Constitutional Rights. Answering the question as to whether basic health care should be a “right” for everyone regardless of income, pre-existing illness or bad genes, or a “privilege” obtained by hard work or bestowed by good birth Timothy Johnson, medical editor for ABC News replies: ???We would never argue that police and fire protection should be distributed based on income, so why should health care??? (Johnson, USAToday.
com) Today, the Number of uninsured citizens has grown to over 40 million. One reason for this phenomenon is that health care has become increasingly unaffordable for businesses and individuals. Reacting to the common criticism that a universal health care system would increase taxes for employers, Morton Mintz, a journalist highly regarded for medical exposes, including the historic Thalidomide and Shield scandals, responds, ???universal coverage would cost employers far less in taxes than they currently pay for insurance and help balance their books in other ways.
??? (Thomas, Pittsburgh Post Gazette) Additionally, Research by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit, working for a high performing health system, reports that in 2005, employer premium contributions for employee coverage and their dependents reached $420 billion, more than one-fifth of the total US health expenditures. (Thomas, Pittsburgh Gazette) Considering these facts, why aren??™t business leaders across the country pushing for universal, single payer health insurance coverage Those who oppose universal health care, warn that implementation would result in higher taxes and a decrease in quality care. Others argue that the absence of market competition could set back innovation in treatment and research.
In a BalancePolitics.org article that summarizes the pros and cons of universal health care, one statement on the con side argues that ???Free health care isn??™t really free since we must pay for it with taxes; expenses for health care would have to be paid for with higher taxes or spending cuts in other areas such as defense, education etc.??? The author then asks, ???What good would it do to wipe out a few hundred dollars of monthly health insurance premiums if our taxes go up that much more??? (BalancedPolitics.org, Pro & Cons Argument) Shirley Svorny, a professor of economics at California State University and the author of a new Cato Institute study on Medical licensing offers what she considers a lower cost alternative to universal health care: ???using innovation to make health care cheaper and more accessible.??? (Svorny, Sun Herald) Svorvy claims that patients should have low cost options when it comes to certain routine medical procedures and check-ups. She points to the success of retail ???convenience??? clinics at Wal-Mart, Target and CVS pharmacies that are now staffed with nurse practitioners that can provide routine care at affordable prices. (Svorny, Sun Herald) As I learn more about conflicting opinions surrounding the issue, I must ask the question, how do medical professionals feel about the possibility of universal healthcare in the US British based news agency, Reuters, provides some answers in the article, Doctors support universal healthcare: survey. The article states, according to the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, in a recent survey of 2000 US doctors, ???59 percent said they support legislation to establish a national health insurance program, while 32 percent said they oppose it (1).
??? Speaking for program supporters, Dr. Ronald Ackerman, who worked on the study, states, ???As doctors, we find that our patients suffer because of increasing deductibles, co-payments, and restrictions on patient care. More and more, physicians are turning to national health insurance as a solution to this problem An example is Dr. Brian O??™Malley, who is part of Cape Care Coalition, a model that is trying to bring a single payer system to Cape Cod, who states ???patients now bring a diverse assortment of health insurance plans, each with its own requirements and allowances. Due in part to this fact, O??™Malley says ???Physicians spend more and more time satisfying plan demands for pre-authorization of care??¦ And the absolute anarchy of the prescription drug market, with its new pharmacy benefit managers creates a constant stream of uncompensated time demands on doctors.
??? (Cape Cod Times) O??™Malley hopes that grass-roots efforts such as the Cape Care Coalition will eventually lead to a national health care system, similar to those in Canada and England. In conclusion, by considering the many opinions surrounding the issue of universal health care it is easy to understand why lawmakers have had such a difficult time implementing legislation for a plan. While opponents argue that universal health care would raise taxes, many believe that the increase would be less costly than current health insurance costs which are currently draining business employers and their employees. Considering that many respected doctors and politicians are now fighting to implement a plan, it seems that we are closer than we have been in the past to universal coverage.