Pros and Cons of Universal Health Care

- 32

Pros and Cons of Universal Health Care

Healthcare is a basic need of every human being. It should be considered a basic human right, in which the nation ensures that every person is covered by equal healthcare, regardless of age, gender, or income. Industrialized countries all over the world have been employing single payer healthcare for years, which is better than private health insurance. Even though it is seen as an effective healthcare system, the question is, why can’t Americans employ the single payer healthcare system like other industrialized countries?

Everyone deserves at least basic healthcare, irrespective of their origin, background, or financial status. Recently, there was a coalition made of over 500 leading health and development organizations from all corners of the world, urging governments to create reforms that will see that everyone, everywhere, will have access to quality healthcare without being forced into poverty. This is what has been the underlying principle of universal healthcare.

What is Universal Healthcare?

Universal Healthcare, which is also known as universal care, universal coverage, and universal health coverage, is a term that is used to address a healthcare system that provides health care and financial protection to every citizen of a specific country.

Universal healthcare is all about providing a specified healthcare package, which will be beneficial to every member of society, with the aim of providing financial risk protection, improved health outcomes, and improved access to health services. This type of health package does not provide coverage for everything, but rather it can be determined by three critical dimensions, which include:

  • Who is covered;
  • What services are covered;
  • How much of the cost is covered.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), universal healthcare is a system in which every citizen can receive health services, without incurring financial hardship.

Universal healthcare was first started in Germany in 1883 and spread to other countries, especially the rich nations of Europe. America is not participating in this type of health system at the present time.

The objectives of a Universal healthcare system include:

  • A strong, efficient, well-run health system;
  • A system for financing health services;
  • Access to essential medicines and technologies;
  • A sufficient capacity of well-trained, motivated health workers.

Universal healthcare is sometimes referred to as free healthcare (as in Canada). In the real world, there is nothing like free healthcare; somebody is always paying for it.

Universal healthcare is the type of healthcare plan where every member of society can receive health coverage, irrespective of their social status, income, age, gender, race, pre-existing condition, or wealth. This means that as far as long as you are certified as a legal member of the region where universal healthcare is being practiced, then you are eligible for that care.

When we talk about universal healthcare, we are referring to healthcare that’s paid for or subsidized by the government, which is also called the single payer healthcare system. Since World War II, most countries in the world offer some form of universal healthcare to their citizens. So what are the pros and cons of this type of healthcare system? Should there be universal healthcare in the United States? There are many issues with America’s healthcare system, regardless of the fate of Obamacare, which is also known as the Affordable Care Act.

According to data from the National Coalition on Health Care, more than 45 million Americans do not have health insurance. The objective of universal healthcare is to provide those without insurance and other legal members of society with an opportunity to get the healthcare that they deserve without worrying about financial hardship.

Proponents of universal healthcare base their argument on the fact that no human, irrespective of his social status, should be allowed to go without adequate healthcare. They go further to state that the right to healthcare will help put a stop to medical bankruptcies, reduce overall healthcare spending, improve public health, and even help small businesses flourish. Meanwhile, those against it argue that it could lead to socialism and more government debt. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of universal healthcare.

What is a Single Payer Healthcare System?

Pros and Cons of Universal Health Care

A single payer healthcare system is a single public agency that takes on the responsibility of healthcare financing for all of the residents. This means that the health care of all residents is covered under one insurance company. Through single payer healthcare, people can get access to necessary services, such as prescription medication, doctors, long-term care, hospitals, vision care, and dental. Also, individuals are able to choose the place they receive care. The single payer healthcare system is believed to address a number of healthcare problems in the U.S. It is also known as universal health coverage, and will make great progress by providing healthcare equality, especially to underinsured and uninsured Americans. Potential wasteful spending would be better controlled by lower administrative costs and cost control. In addition, this healthcare system is believed to have more incentives in healthcare spending compared to public health measures.

Even though single payer healthcare’s provision of equal healthcare for the people sounds very promising, there are potential tradeoffs in shifting to it from the current system. Some points included in the criticism are restricted availability and lengthy wait times for certain elective surgeries or other healthcare options.

Universal healthcare can be a single-payer or two-tier payer system, and we will discuss what this means below:

This type of healthcare system covers every citizen under a single plan funded by the government, and provides comprehensive healthcare. In Europe and other parts of the world, most developed countries have one form of universal, publicly-financed healthcare.

The single payer healthcare system is also called “Medicare for all.” Under this type of plan, a single public or quasi-public agency will be tasked with the financing of healthcare, while the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. If this type of healthcare system is implemented in the United States, every resident would be covered for all medically necessary services, such as doctor’s visit, preventive treatment, hospital stays, mental health treatment, long-term care, dental care, reproductive health care, prescription drugs, vision care, and medical supply costs.

Should this be implemented, today’s inefficient system, which only the rich can afford, will be replaced by public savings, premiums will disappear, and over 95% of U.S. households would save money. Financial barriers, such as co-pays and deductibles, would no longer stop patients from receiving quality healthcare.

Pros of Universal Healthcare

Equal Access to Healthcare

  • The main advantage of this type of healthcare is that it gives people that can’t afford healthcare the services they need. This system provides basic services for all citizens and it doesn’t discriminate against anyone. It helps those that aren’t employed or have other difficulties getting healthcare when they need it the most.
  • This is perhaps the greatest advantage of universal healthcare: every member of society that has this type of health plan is able to access healthcare, no matter his social status. Since no single human life is greater than another, the poor can receive exactly the same type of healthcare that would only be afforded to the rich under normal circumstances. This type of healthcare does not discriminate against anyone. It puts all legal members of society on an equal pedestal.

Improve Public Health

  • The entire population spreads around the cost of healthcare, so everyone can at least get the basic care that they need.
  • This type of healthcare will help to improve the health of the general population, since every member of society has equal access to medical care. Hence, it will lead to a reduction in the amount of illness suffered by the general population, create healthier people, and increase productivity.
  • Citizens can get free treatment for basic conditions without fear of not being able to afford them. This can help reduce the spread of infectious diseases and other common health problems that people may ignore if they can’t afford healthcare.

Less Paperwork

  • It’s easier to have everyone under one system with universal healthcare. Doctors can concentrate on patients and not problems with insurance and other factors. With universal healthcare in place, doctors and other healthcare professionals can finally concentrate on treating the patient without worrying themselves with paperwork from the patients’ insurance companies and other necessary paperwork.

Stop Medical Bankruptcies

  • Universal healthcare can put an end to medical bankruptcies. In 2007, about 62% of all United States bankruptcies were related to medical expenses, even for those with health insurance. With universal healthcare, medical bankruptcy will be a thing of the past, leading to a healthier and richer nation.

Encourage Entrepreneurship

  • Universal healthcare will encourage entrepreneurship, according to the projections made by Kauffman-RAND Institute for Entrepreneurship Public Policy. Most individuals avoid starting their own business due to fear of losing the health insurance that they are enjoying from their current employer. With universal healthcare in place, self-employment in the United States could increase by 2 to 3.5%.

Benefits Businesses

  • As of 2011, about 59.5% of Americans were enjoying health insurance through their employer in the private sector. The high cost that is associated with paying employee’s health insurance has put private U.S. businesses at a competitive disadvantage in the international marketplace. Hence, with universal healthcare, private businesses can free up the funds used for health insurance for investment in other areas of their business. This could reduce employer labor costs by more than 12%.

Boost Economy

  • Without a doubt, people work more when they live healthier lives, which allow them to contribute as much as they can to the nation’s economy. Universal healthcare will raise the standard of living of every individual in society, which will lead to more economic productivity.

Human Rights

  • President Obama of the United States delivered his last State of the Union speech in December 2015, and mentioned that the United States is the most powerful nation in the world and that the state of the union is strong. If that’s the case, I don’t see any reason why the government can’t provide universal healthcare to its citizens. If some Asian countries like Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea can do it, why can’t the U.S.? Other than the efficiency of the government running the universal healthcare system, I think the other reason is that most Americans don’t think healthcare is supposed to be the responsibility of the government.
  • Universal healthcare also draws its support from the United Nations Declaration made on Dec.10, 1948, which stated that “everyone has the right to a standard of living proper for the health and well-being of the individual and his family, which includes medical care.” Again, in 2005, the United States and the WHO members further threw their support to universal healthcare with the signing of the World Health Assembly resolution 58.33, which stated that every member of society should have access to healthcare services without facing financial hardship when seeking care.

Cons of Universal Healthcare

Long Wait Times

  • This type of healthcare system often results in long wait times for patients, and not everyone will receive the type of care that they need. Since this type of system is run by the government, there can be a lot of red tape and bureaucracy that can result in poor care, especially if the country is already poor and doesn’t have a lot of revenue to spend on the care of its citizens.

Lead to a Socialist State

  • The presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been criticized that his universal healthcare plan is a far-fetched dream. To make it happen, he admitted that he would have to increase taxes on every citizen, which could plunge the United States into a socialist state, where the government controls the distribution of goods and services. The United States is currently practicing a free market system, where market forces determine the availability and cost of healthcare services, not the federal government. The introduction of universal healthcare would lead to a great distortion in the economy. It could be the first step towards the government controlling other aspects of the economy.
  • Universal healthcare will reduce the amount of money doctors can make, thereby reducing the attraction of the profession. This could create a shortage of doctors in the long run. Those with higher incomes may complain that their money is going to pay for the healthcare of other citizens when it should be going to pay for their own care.

Medical Abuse Leads to Rationing

  • People may abuse the system and seek care for conditions which don’t require a visit to the hospital, and these people can tax the system and cause unnecessary burdens on the system.
  • Adopting universal healthcare in the United States could lead to rationing of medical services, as seen in countries like New Zealand, Australia, FranceCanadathe United Kingdom, and Taiwan. These countries that practice universal healthcare ration services through methods such as budgeting, controlled distribution, service restriction, and price setting.

There Is No Free Lunch

  • Universal healthcare is not really free since the government will need to generate funds to support the program. Hence, it could lead to an increase in taxes. This is shown in the UK and other European countries where universal healthcare is being practiced, with taxes increasing year after year.

No Competition. No Innovation

  • Universal healthcare eliminates the free market for healthcare, where prices may be lower.
  • There is no incentive to create better medications or pursue better medical services.
  • Universal healthcare will reduce the amount of money doctors can make, thereby reducing the attraction of the profession. This could create a shortage of doctors in the long run.

Takes Time to Get There

  • Universal healthcare often has a lot of rules and regulations that people have to follow, and there is going to be a learning curve and probably trial and error, or even some technical difficulties, just like when Obamacare first launched.

Increases Government Debt

  • This is probably the biggest argument against universal healthcare. Implementing a single payer healthcare system causes an increase in taxes, as the system needs to be paid for. The overall cost of the system can be draining on a country and cause large debts.
  • Existing U.S. government healthcare programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are already putting a huge strain on the public budget. Adding a universal healthcare program to these would amount to enormous growth in government spending and debt.
  • Governments aren’t that great at running large systems, and asking the government to run healthcare could lead to a lot of problems. To run the healthcare system, there may need to be cuts made in other areas of the government that weaken those areas to compensate for the needs of the healthcare system.

There will always be a debate over the advantages and disadvantages of universal healthcare. But different countries have different situations, so if the pros outweigh the cons, going with universal healthcare would be the best approach.

What Countries have Free Healthcare?

Below, there is a list of countries with the cheapest medical care. These countries, unlike the United States, promote the universal healthcare system, which is being advocated by the WHO. The justification for implementing universal healthcare is to create convenient and sustainable healthcare services to all of the people in a specific country:

List of Countries with free Healthcare include

Country Start Date of Universal Healthcare
Norway 1912
New Zealand 1938
Japan 1938
Germany 1941
Belgium 1945
United Kingdom 1948
Kuwait 1950
Sweden 1955
Bahrain 1957
Brunei 1958
Canada 1966
Netherlands 1966
Austria 1967
United Arab Emirates 1971
Finland 1972
Slovenia 1972
Denmark 1973
Luxembourg 1973
France 1974
Australia 1975
Ireland 1977
Italy 1978
Portugal 1979
Cyprus 1980
Greece 1983
Spain 1986
South Korea 1988
Iceland 1990
Hong Kong 1993
Singapore 1993
Switzerland 1994
Israel 1995
Taiwan 1995

Is Healthcare a Human Right?

When it comes to health, which was declared to be a human right by the WHO, individuals have the right to their own healthcare that is provided by the government by attempting to preserve the health facilities and health services that can be easily accessed by the people.  According to the WHO, health is not just being free from disease, but also includes prosperous conditions of the physical, the soul, and the psychology, and those conditions allow a person to have an economically productive life. Healthy individuals do not suffer from physical diseases, and they can also interact with others and play a role in society.

From the statement above, we can conclude that healthcare is a human right that should be managed by the government and other authorities. For that reason, a lot of countries across the world provide universal coverage to give their people health assurance.

In its manifestation, all people will get health services without spending their own money for the services given. However, health assurance does not mean that people will get the full service for free because everything regarding health services is so expensive. It means that the government should manage and control the mechanism of payment, which will ensure that people do not pay any more when they get their health services from the government.

Implementation of Health Assurance

In the United States, all people had their own universal coverage from the government in 2010. According to the data, around 30 million U.S. citizens could not buy health assurance. By giving them universal coverage, it could be a great breakthrough for a country where capitalism and liberalism have spread.

Besides the countries mentioned above, there are other countries that have implemented universal coverage for their people. The government provides health services and care to the people because they are human rights, which should be fulfilled by the authorities. Implementing universal coverage can be so challenging and complex because there are many factors that need to be addressed. It can be implemented, but countries need a long time to make it run well.

Why Can’t Americans Have Universal Healthcare Like Industrialized Countries?

Many Americans have been wondering why almost every developed country in the world has a universal healthcare system, but the U.S. does not. Many reasons have been attributed to this.

Healthcare in the United States today is very expensive compared to other countries. In fact, a survey showed that, on average, America spends 50% more than the next-highest country. The same data showed that when you collate the average cost of healthcare in 34 European countries, the United States spends 200% more than all of them combined.

To introduce a single payer healthcare system in the United States from scratch would imply not just nationalizing the insurance industry, but also severely reducing payments to hospitals, doctors, and other integral parts of the healthcare industry. Moreover, many people working for politically powerful lobbies would be unemployed or bankrupted, and many others would be faced with whopping pay cuts. Free healthcare in the United States may seem like a desirable policy, but it would never be politically viable.

Going further, it is believed that the implementation of a single payer system in the United States would make the current healthcare system unattractive. Those involved in research would only have one paymaster, which would be the government. The lack of competition would cripple the desire of private individuals to invest in healthcare, leading to a reduction in the quality of the healthcare available in the United States.

To summarize, a single payer system in today’s United States is faced with intertwined political and policy problems that are insurmountable. For many years, America was faced with a lack of cost control and this can’t be undone overnight. At the moment, a single payer health system is not politically viable, and as the cost attached to it is excessive, there would be a reduction in the quality of healthcare and many people would face job losses, if it were implemented.

Obamacare Will Be Repealed

The current healthcare system in the U.S. is known as Obamacare. However, as a new president has been elected, Obamacare is going to be repealed. Why would President Trump not repair Obamacare, and instead choose to repeal it?

The highlight of the current healthcare policy is that there are too many people with severe health problems who use the Obamacare exchanges. However, those amounts are not matched by the amount of healthy people who are signing up. Actually, the main problem does not lie in Obamacare, but rather in the structure of the private market of health insurance. The system avoids sick people and instead attracts healthy people in order to create huge incentives. This system is only making the structural matter even more obvious.

Due to the problems in the structural system, President Trump has, therefore, claimed that he will repeal Obamacare instead of repair it. Even as he is going to repeal Obamacare, he suggested a new healthcare system, Trumpcare. Whatever the new system will be, the fact that a single payer health system has become too far-fetched is unavoidable.

Why Single Payer Healthcare is Impossible

Actually, America has already implemented single payer healthcare, which is called Medicare. Medicare is only opened to Americans who are over 65 years old. The single payer healthcare system is believed to address the most crucial and major deficiencies in the current healthcare system, which is the large amount of money that is spent on administration and billing. Hospitals and other medical clinics regularly employ more billing personnel than doctors. That is not the end of the current system’s flaws. Patients and their families spend a huge amount of time and effort arguing with bill collectors and insurance companies about what is covered, what is not, and what they owe. In addition, hospitals and drug companies spend an enormous amount of money on advertising their services and products.

Even though single payer healthcare is believed to have a great impact on healthcare reconstruction, why can’t America have that system? The main reason why America cannot adopt the better system is because some industries and certain institutions that have an interest in the current healthcare system are unwilling to change. Changing the healthcare system means that they will also experience changes in their profits, and they may not be as big as with the current system.

Besides the related industries and institutions, the Americans themselves are actually more skeptical of their national government than other industrialized nations. They do not trust the current government to handle and implement the policy. On the other hand, Americans who already have health coverage are satisfied with the existing system. If there are changes to the system, they are afraid that it will affect their health coverage, such as losing access to necessary care. Changing the existing healthcare system is not easy. Enacting new policy, such as single payer healthcare, can be expensive. The fact is that Americans are not ready for, and clearly opposed to, a tax increase. With all of those reasons, and perhaps there are more, enacting a single payer healthcare system seems like a far-fetched dream.

Why the Solution is Single Payer Healthcare

Even though shifting from the existing healthcare system to a single payer healthcare system is not easy, it is the only long-term solution available for providing equal healthcare to every person, regardless of age, income, or gender. A single payer healthcare system that covers all Americans will result in a huge reduction in administrative expenses. The money that they have saved can be allocated to disease prevention and healthcare, instead of debt collection and paper pushing. Many Americans get stuck at their current jobs due to the great health insurance provided. Single payer healthcare allows people to be free and more productive, without worrying about health insurance.

Americans are, in fact, aware that the existing healthcare system is not working properly. But it may take a long time for them to understand that the problems lie fundamentally in the system, since the U.S. remains the only industrialized country on the planet where citizens do not have a guarantee of equal healthcare.

32 Responses

  1. Nanci Y
    | Reply

    I have concerns about the percentage of donations that go for administrative costs,i.e. mailouts, rallies, for this initiative. I believe in the concept but am concerned about implementation.

    • Michael
      | Reply

      Really? What about all the administrative costs including profits that using insurance companies contribute to the overall costs.

      • Paul Coughlin
        | Reply

        Micheal do you realize that administrative costs are somewhere around 65% of health costs . These people do none of the care or direct interaction with the patient. I believe some need is there with administration but not 65% .

        • Roy Little
          | Reply

          Mediacare/ Medicaid administrative costs are approximately 3%, plus the insurance company profits would be eliminated for those on Medicare. The cost of drugs is a huge problem and needs to be addressed before substantial other savings can be found. Yes, your taxes will be increased minimally but you will not need to pay insurance premiums, co=pays or deductibles. Universal healthcare would insure that all are covered. The idea that research is funded by medical schools and pharma companies is largely bullshit, as they get researrh done and paid for by government grants. In fact, pharma companies spend more money on advertising than research. Drugs should be accessible from any legitimate source outside the USA – then we will have competition to lower all drug costs.

          • Marc W
            |

            Having worked at the Federal level for over a decade, I woudl say your “administrative costs” figures for CMS are exaggeratedly low.

            The CMS calculation is on a basis of percentage of utilization. They spend 3% of Utilized costs. There are no barriers for care, and they are funded entirely by tax payers. So, their average per patient payout is higher than typical insurance. On average, they pay $530 per patient per year. Private insurances (which, coincidentally, run most of the CMS programs) have a different model. They do not have a tax payer pool to help balance cost, so they need a mix of healthy “low utilization” customers to balance out the costly ” high utilization” patients; such as long term diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, long term mental health issues, catastrophic disease such as cancer, etc. On average, the private insurance industry pays about $450 a patient, but on a dollar cost average, their utilization costs look higher because they have so many low-to-no payment consumers.

            The CMS data does not include the State administrative costs that run nearly 100% of the programs. We would also have to add those costs in to the above data model to get a true figure. I can It also does not figure in that CMS sees an extremely high rate of fraud; nearly 40% of submitted medical claims against CMS insurances are fraudulent, by their own Congressionally reported estimations. Fraud is a massive problem for CMS.

            Adding in the last two cost factors drives the CMS utilization cost per patient in to the thousands. It is less than an ideal model, has no discouragement for high utilization, a lack of significant enforcement, and requires 3.95% of income generated in the US to cover 44M beneficiaries, or approximately 15% of the US population for $1.1T of the National Health Care Expenditure (HNE) of $3.2T in 2015 . By that calculation, single payer or “Medicare for all” would cost every working person in the US (including those paid under the table, which we will have to figure out how to collect) approximately $7.14T or more than double what we spend on care today.

            Remember, Medicare has no restrictions on demand for care, and no penalties, so we have to expect that everyone’s demand will increase, and so will cost. By way of comparison, ACA removed a large portion of the demand barriers (lifetime capitated limits, pre-existing conditions, access to more treatments and medicines previously covered outside of insurance). Costs on those programs rose nearly 600% for employers, and nearly 300% for consumers since implementation. Having no limits means increased demand against limited supply. Therefore, cost goes up.

  2. Aliesa
    | Reply

    If this is the pros and cons list updated for this year. What will the system be like if the cons don’t really show up if the economy really doesn’t take it for granted in the state that this here website insisted? Would taking an unnecessary precaution cause more destruction toward the people than the program as they so predicted. I will say that taking that type of precaution towards the topic was smart although it did not justice to the actual problem, to where people that actually need the care is not getting it and are in more tight spots than regular family’s that are doing just fine. Though the weight of both sides do not weigh equal to each other wouldn’t the risk be worth it if the family’s do get the help that they so much deserve so it doesn’t seem fair to throw a topic that can help tons of people away after a little bit of the cons list seem far more than the pros. Dis-spite the fear you have for the program seems a tad bias? I mean don’t get me wrong taking on a program that int he end blows up in your face does indeed seem fright full but the problems that await or surface if we don’t do something about the current spot that we are self but us in will not benefit us in the future. So if we are to try to use a new way to not create more ugly would it not be fair to look at the option and think for the moment that it can help and put a list a current solution to the issue.

  3. Dave
    | Reply

    I see that a lot of the cons have to do with the ability of the Federal Government to distribute services and collect funding. But what if, instead of there being one Federal program of free healthcare, each state had its own system of universal healthcare? Obviously, we would still need a national standard for each state to follow as well as a committee to oversee their progress. Also, not every state in the US would be able to fund its own program. But for wealthier states with a bigger population, could they perhaps run their own free healthcare system while only occasionally needing assistance/intervention from the Federal government?

    • Sergel
      | Reply

      Interestingly enough some states are experimenting with that idea. I believe Florida was and California has a bill in progress. California had a lot of debt and taxes in the state are already very high so people would need a lot or convincing.

    • dale leitzke
      | Reply

      State involvement with universal health care may be essential. One big factor is that many do not trust the federal government because it is too large. Canada allows some differences between its provinces. What if the federal government just collected the funds and distributed them to the states based on population? National political pundits would have the wind taken out of their sales. Then the states could get down to work and create a better health care system.

  4. Ann
    | Reply

    Obamacare seems to me to be the universal health coverage….and it’s a mess. And with the mention of longer wait time….the vets already go through that. Just look at the number of how many lose their lives because the care they need takes too long to obtain. It’s ridiculous. And to be penalized yearly for not having insurance, as I know many people who choose the fee…..unless the government knows the expenditure and extra money of each household, they are out of line for attaching that kind of fee. Especially if it’s a younger couple who have never had any medical issues and as they maintain being active and eating healthy, but have a very tight budget, they’re to penalized? Yeah, that’s very fair. And the government already overreaches as is. In TN, Obama has threatened to withdraw all federal funds for the schools if the state doesn’t comply with the guidelines he set….I can only imagine what would happen to the citizens who are covered by a universal system and the state disagrees with the federal government. And yes, while some of the deductibles ARE outrageous, you know it’s going to be used therefore you save or budget. I’m on the fence about this, because while every citizen DOES deserve to be covered, no one should FORCE them to be covered. It’s a personal choice.

  5. Britanica
    | Reply

    Call it what you want, I still feel like Obamacare is part of the reason so many people are in a rut. I know so many people, including myself, who can’t afford coverage thanks to his crap and go without insurance YET STILL PAY for it! Also, my tax dollars go for people who need free medical coverage so I am in turn paying for other people’s too. I want coverage and can’t afford it. I also know people who can afford it and don’t want it. Basic medical care should be free and should have been free for a long time, at least for working class Americans.

  6. DON BERGS
    | Reply

    Based on many years experience dealing with health insurance companies, and knowledge of dealing with them on far too many occasions over billing issues, everyone needs to be aware of actual costs to a patient. Usual and Customary Charges, which are used to determine what figures are applied to deductibles and co-pays. All expenses Doctors and Hospitals impose above Usual and Customary Charges,(as determined by Ins. Co’s.), are paid by the patient. The net effect to the patient is that they will be responsible for very close to half (50%) of the total cost of treatment, after adding in deductibles and co-pays.

    The reality of facing substantial costs to patients, results in putting off needed care until it is no longer an option, which usually results in even greater costs, at best, or loss of life at worst. We need to offer health care that is available to most other civilized nations.

    Don

  7. cC
    | Reply

    I wish Obamacare was stil there

    • lo
      | Reply

      Are you crazy?… Or are you one of those whose rich or well off, using the system?

  8. Paul Schreibers
    | Reply

    As a dual UK/Australian citizen I have experienced the universal health care model of both countries (the NHS and Medicare) in action and quite simply could not see why the United States has found it such a struggle to be able to provide the right of basic health care to it’s citizens irrespective of their wealth and status. That was until I watched some of the interviews with the average ‘Joe’ in the street, targeted at those who did not want Obamacare – a superstitious bunch who thought a universal health care approach would lead to socialism (hmmm hasn’t happened yet in the UK/Aus) and who had probably never experienced a compassionate societal thought for the care of those in their society not so well off as themselves. A mean spirited bunch acting all for themselves are never going to think first for basic human rights but only for themselves, until something can turn the tide of ingrained thought from ‘selfish’ to ‘selfless’ I doubt it will ever become a reality in the US.

  9. Kelly
    | Reply

    I’m a dual Australian/ British citizen and I’ve lived in both countries for almost half my life in each, and I think the health system is great in both countries. Both countries cover different areas (UK covers dental, Australia doesn’t, UK also covers a lot of vaccines and Australia doesn’t). I just wanted to argue against a couple of your negative points of the universal health care. Firstly, you mentioned that wait time increases, though this might be the case for public health care, this is not generally the case for private. Everyone will have the option to go public or private (private being what the USA currently have), so really the wait time isn’t increasing, it’s just that people will have two options to choose from, public (which may or may not be a longer wait) and private (which will be the same as what the USA currently offers). The main point to note is that ALL individuals will have the option and right to health care whether they choose to go public or private. Currently in the USA people only have the choice to go private – why limit all those that have no choice at all because they can’t afford it. Secondly, you mentioned that public health cover will cost the country. If you look at it at a different angel – people that currently cannot afford to seek proper medical cover, take more sick days (which has a negative impact on the economy), spend less on luxury items (retail etc which is needed to ensure the economy grows) as they spend money on short term solutions instead, and they spend longer being sick and are also more likely to develop a more serve illness. People that have access to public health cover are more likely to seek medical advice before the illness gets extreme, this means they are likely to take less sick days, and more likely to be healthy and take part in activities which will benefit the country. I guess what I’m trying to say is that a country full of healthy people is better for the economy than a country full of sick people. Finally, people should have a right to health care. One of the indicates of extreme poverty is access to health care – by limiting public access it will have an impact on people’s standard of living and potentially drive people to poverty. People always bang on about helping their own before helping those in need overseas, well one way to help your own is public health care! There is a reason why so many countries have it and it’s because it works and it’s fair!

  10. Tammy
    | Reply

    I find it interesting that universal method claims NOT to have competition or innovation in medicine. Germany is very innovative and uses different methods of treatment, has access to more medications and is an excellent system. I chose the health insurance company based on my needs – did I want homeopathic medicine coverage, did I want the head doctor in the hospital, did I want a semi-private room in the hospital?
    The healthcare system in America looks out for the pharmacy companies and the health insurance companies – not the patients. Calling doctors “providers” and forcing patients to fight for their care is pitiful and something expected from a third world country. It would be nice if America would wake up and start taking care of its citizens. I don’t care if I have to pay more taxes to have a good health system. I’ve done it before – it won’t kill me but not having access to my medicine and good doctors could.

    • lo
      | Reply

      How true, couldn’t have said it better..

  11. lo
    | Reply

    Are you crazy? Or are you one of the rich using Ombma Care to your advantage? WOW!,

    • Liltpr
      | Reply

      Rich people can get Obamacare but it is just as expensive as buying private insurance. I know cause I looked it up. We are not rich but upper middle class and the ACA doesn’t offer any breaks for those in this economic status. My husband and I are both self employed so we have to buy our coverage ourselves and it costs us $550 each a month. That is $13,500 a year out of pocket, let alone our deductibles of $2500 each. So if I had to pay more in my taxes, I would, with the hope that the increase would be less that $18,500.

  12. Danika T.
    | Reply

    Living in Canada and learning about such things about the American, Austrailian and German healthcare system is vital to graduating jr. high (grades 7-9). The views and opininos of americans are exactly as I expected and views of other countries have been educational. I quite like the way the Healthcare runs in the United Kingdom. Being provided optimal healthcare is a human right. Kudos to those out there with strong opinions on the matter.

  13. Katleen
    | Reply

    Interesting and I supposed it is impossible to divorce ‘opinion.’ We culturally decry socialism without an understanding that American have many such programs already. But, my son has O’care and pays $560 a month but it is a great blue cross plan; he had a heart attack at 29. I KNOW that this new Grahm bill is bad for Americans. Once states are ‘allowed’ to drop key provisions of O care; AND worse drop any regulation that prohibits insurance companies from charging whatever they want FOR pre-existing conditions; we all lose. State’s administering it means 50 x the administration costs; and states trying to manage the same people with LESS money. Notwithstanding the fact that this guts Medicaid. This bill also drops the Trump promised Opioid Care/and just deletes $45 Billion. It is not by accident that the AMA, the AS of Hospitals, Kaiser Family Foundation; Blue Cross and the Red Cross as just a few are VERY OPPOSED to this bill. AND, since they don’t even want to wait for the CBO’ we know Republicans are not interest in YOU or ME; only in seeming to keep a promise that is almost anachronistic at this point. How about basic coverage for all; then we can buy a supplemental policy for say, the 30% not covered by universal. We can pay a nominal fee for health care for all as well. IF ‘they’ closed those tax loop holes for companies overseas that they talk about or remove the SS cap, do away with oil subsidies etc ,require corporations to actually pay what their tax rate IS; where would we be? My point is that we are psyched into this ‘socialism’ word and have never even seriously explored this possibility.

    • Himaty
      | Reply

      That is what south korea, japan, germany, italy and most europeans are doing. NO wait time. Actually doctor visits are way fater than US. No appointments are needed unless you are going to university level hospitals or huge general hospitals. Even if you make an appointments things are still faster than US. I had been a skeptical about centralized health care but from where i live drug abuse is so darn rare that if some people decide to get opioid prescription illegally then it is such a huge event that major news channels report the event.

      Also prescriptions are managed by federal govt developed system from the computer that only licensed and registered doctors and PAs can have access. Meaning no misconduct and mistakes. If i was prescribed with heart medications then went to a different doctor who prescribed flu medicines, the later doctor can see what medications i am on if i permited the second doctor. If i decide to do doctor shopping with opioids then GOVT healthcare dept knows what i am doing right away.

      Oh PS
      I only pay about 10 dollars for normal doctor’s office visit and about 15-20 bucks for university level hospital doctors with Medical professor doctors.

      Funny thing is some medications that are made by american pharmaceutical companies with exact same amounts, shapes, packaging are somehow have cheaper costs(even without healthcare co payment) than getting same medications from same company in US. Those corporate thugs know that they have more competition in countries with healthcare systems so they lower the costs in some countries. Those thugs are ripping americans with scams.

      • Himaty
        | Reply

        Btw i’m currently residing at south korea

        • Bio -guy
          | Reply

          In many of these comments there is a common thread—medications. Most are correct that Americans pay more for their prescriptions (medications), and these are developed by companies that are either U.S. based or U.S. owned. Concern for many is the loss of profits and thus creative drive to develop new medications, especially those orphan drugs for rare diseases. There is the crux—the unknown. Will research, development, creativity in treatment using them where contra-indicated vanish. The U.S. leads the other nations in research, thus saving or granting better healthy lives—an unknown if fiscal incentive is diminished as research is costly—very costly!

  14. Bruce
    | Reply

    Like some others that have posted here, I am a person that has lived with both systems. I am originally Canadian and now I am living in the US. To those that would say the government needs to stay out of our business and leave it to the insurance companies, you are off base. Which one do you think is more likely to exploit the information, the government that can get no financial gain from your condition or the insurance company whose primary goal is to generate revenue and profits. For those that would say, but my taxes will go up in order to pay for this, OPEN YOUR EYES, your health insurance premium is as good as a tax, you have to pay it whether you use it or not. For many people I expect that the premium is nearly 10% of their earnings, and for most everyone it is about 5%. If taxes were increased across the board at 5% (yes I know the very highly paid will end up paying more, but guess what, you can afford it) and companies continued to contribute at the same rate they currently do there would be more than enough revenue to pay for a Single Payer Universal Health care system. Where would the staff come from to run this system, think people!, all of the insurance companies have some very well trained staff that could transition to government roles.

    Who would get hurt by this change: some doctors would see a reduction in earnings, insurance executives would feel the pinch for sure, private hospitals would feel it too and a few others may also be impacted as well. Who would this change help, everyone else. It is time to join the 20th century folks, let alone the 21st century, Health Care is a basic human right, it is time that we as a people stand up and insist on it.

  15. Don Pram
    | Reply

    A correction is required in your list of countries with universal health care coverage. Thailand should be added inthe list, it has practiced UHC for more than 12 years to say the least.

  16. Himaty
    | Reply

    You are wrong. Study and historical data shows canadian doctors are earning more ever since the healthcare system is implemented. So no centralized healthcare system DOES NOT LOWER THE WAGES OF DOCTORS.

    Proof
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110239/

  17. Dale Leitzke
    | Reply

    It seems that everyone that has experienced both systems like single-payer. I see no comments to the contrary. Big donors/special interests don’t want to lose their profits but what about government by the people? If single-payer is a better system, then its time to hold open congressional hearings and let public sentiment make the decision. From a different angle, we are paying almost double for our health care as compared to other first world countries. That’s over a trillion dollars per year in wasted spending. (I call it gross useless product instead of gross national product.) If all of that money were given back to the government, we could retire the national debt in a few years. Go ahead, check the math!

  18. Russell
    | Reply

    We have to drop the “Us against Them” mentality. Universal health-care is easy when you stop treating the people you don’t like like criminals. People who scream for free health-care and complain that the “Rich” don’t pay for it are a problem and not a solution. I would fight to the death to keep them out of power because they are nothing more than indoctrinated brown-shirts.

    First we have to find out why we pay more than twice as much as everyone else.
    The answer is easy. Follow the money.
    Lawyers.
    When Obama said he wouldn’t support Tort reform because it made very little difference, he lied.
    Malpractice and the threat of malpractice adds 1/3 to the cost of health-care. That’s more than most countries pay for health-care.
    Who supports the trial Lawyers Association?
    Democrats.
    Supporting Universal Health-care without cutting out malpractice would be subsidizing lawyer salaries with our taxes.
    What else can we outlaw?
    Drug advertising.
    This adds quite a bit to the cost of producing drugs. Who pays for that difference?
    Who supports it?
    Libertarians ans Republicans.
    Drug companies also are free to set their own prices. They sell drugs for far less to foreign countries than to us.
    We could also reduce the cost of health-care by reducing nursing salaries while making their income tax free.
    Do the same for doctors, trading out services to the poor in exchange for taxes.
    My suggestions would reduce the cost of healthcare by half and the only people suffering would be lawyers and the media.
    Who has all the power in this country?
    Lawyers and the media.

  19. Ernest Cote
    | Reply

    I am glad I found this page, it has given me lots to consider. Being a 60 something American who believes and follows authority, I had informed my 27 year old son that I did not consider health care a right. I am reconsidering that position. Yes, there are groups interested in maintaining status quo, some doctors, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, the people employed in billing (more of them then the medical professionals), yet above all that are the lawyers who get paid for malpractice suits and Congress who has their own (better) system and no “skin in the game” to make the US citizens’ improved. How do we get them to lessen what they have? Fire them and elect the next group? When those with the gold make the rules, they keep the gold.

  20. Sara
    | Reply

    As for funding, will it be like Medicaid does now– replenishing the coffers by going after what remains of a deceased recipient’s financial assets, including bank accounts, IRAs, life insurance proceeds to beneficiaries, home and automobile? Premiums alone are not going to pay for this program.
    There is no free lunch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *