Should Americans Be Entitled to Free Health Care
Healthcare is a basic need and human right for every American regardless of gender, age, or income (Sanders Para. 5). Providing free health care will ensure access to quality care and improve public health. However, the program will increase government expenditure, hamper competition, and innovation in the healthcare sector. As such, it is important to critically assess advantages and challenges associated with free health care system before concluding whether or not Americans should be entitled to free healthcare.
First and foremost, provision of free health care will ensure equal access to quality health care for every American regardless of his/her age, gender, or income. Ireland emphasizes that offering free health care will give persons who cannot afford health care, quality care they need (Para. 2-3). It is worth to note that free health care system will allow all Americans to access basic health services without discrimination. Formosa Post concurs with Ireland’s point of view by adding that the health care policy will help people who are not employed or experiencing other challenges to get health care services in timely manner when they need it (Para. 20). Moreover, all human beings have the same life regardless of their social status. Therefore, the health care policy will ensure that people from low-income backgrounds will access the same health care services as rich people thus putting all legal members of the society on an equal pedestal.
Free health care will also improve public health. That is, the policy will spread the cost to the entire population to enable every American to get at least the basic care h/she needs (Formosa Post Para. 23). As such, the program will improve the health of the U.S.’s entire population. This assertion is valid because the program will ensure that every person in the society has equal access to health care. As such, it will reduce cases of illness which the general public suffers, create healthier population, and increase productivity. Americans should also be entitled to free health care to enable them to get free quality treatments for different diseases without the fear of the cost (Formosa Post Para. 23; Rachman para. 7-9). The treatment can lessen spread of common infectious diseases as well as other health issues which people ignore, especially when they cannot afford health care. The other benefits include boosting the economy since people will live healthy lives and contribute to the economy, stop or minimize cases of medical bankruptcies through large hospital bills, and less paperwork because all data will be put into one system.
However, there are some concerns associated with free health care. First thing, the system will increase government debt. According to Ireland, universal health care program will lead to an increase in tax because the government will have to pay for it (Para.3). Offering free health care will cause huge debts to the government forcing it to redirect funds from other key sectors such as education, information technology, and security (Herzlinger, Richman and Boxer Para. 3). These are strong arguments because the U.S.’s existing health care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare have already put a considerable strain on the country’s public budget. As such, adding a universal or free health care program to the existing programs will lead to enormous growth in the government’s debt and expenditure. Forcing the government to run health care might also lead to many issues. For example, running the system will force the government to cut expenditure in other areas such as education and research to compensate for health care system thus weakening such sectors.
The other disadvantage associated with free health care is that it will encourage medical abuse. Formosa Post raises a concern that people might abuse the health care system by seeking care for health conditions which do not require them to visit health care centers (Para. 31). Such cases will increase tax and cause unnecessary burden to the government. Similarly, entitling every American to free health care might also lead to rationing of care services as other nations such as the United Kingdom and Australia have been doing since their adoption of the system. Some of the rationing methods in these and other countries include service restriction, price setting, and controlled distribution. In such cases, people will not access adequate health care services which are the goal of implementing the system. The other cons include lack of competition, innovation, and long wait time.
In conclusion, despite the fact that implementation of a free health care program is not easy for the U.S., that is the best long-term solution available for the country to provide equal quality healthcare for every citizen regardless of gender, income, or age. A universal health care system that covers all Americans will lead to considerable reduction of the administration cost since all the information will be accessible from a single system. The program will also improve public health and boost the country’s productivity.
Formosa Post. “Pros and Cons of Universal Health Care.” 16 Jan, 2017, https://www.formosapost.com/pros-and-cons-of-universal-health-care/
Herzlinger, E. Regina, Richman D. Barak, and Boxer J. Richard. How Health Care Hurts Your Paycheck. The New York Times, 2 Nov. 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/02/opinion/how-health-care-hurts-your-paycheck.html?_r=0
Ireland, Kay. “Pros & Cons of Free Universal Health Care.” Livestrong.com, 16 Aug. 2013, http://www.livestrong.com/article/30692-pros-cons-universal-health/
Rachman, Anita. “Indonesia’s Health-Care Program Struggles with Its Own Success.” The Wall Street Journal, 7 Oct. 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/indonesias-health-care-program-struggles-with-its-own-success-1444260768
Sanders, Bernie. “Health Care Is a Right, Not a Privilege.” The Huffington Post, 25 May, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/health-care-is-a-right-no_b_212770.html