Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world where we are all treated equally? Have you ever wanted to be guaranteed medical coverage even when you are at your lowest point and maybe cannot afford to medically cover yourself or provide for yourself? Not only yourself, but even for your family? I know that we have all wondered what we would do if a medical emergency happened and we did not have access to health care. The solution is simple, universal health coverage. Universal health coverage offers service and equality to the United States population in regard to medical coverage and will leave no one person behind or forgotten. In this essay I am going to discuss what universal health coverage is, why I agree with it, and how it can benefit the Unites States as a whole. Price, fairness and personal beliefs all tie into why I believe that the United States should move towards this type of medical coverage for all Americans.
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First, let us talk a little bit about what universal health coverage is. Universal health coverage is a type of system in health care that gives everyone that is a citizen of a particular country the right, access, and accessibility to health care coverage. This is given to any particular person regardless of ethnicity, employment, age, or marital status. Of course, this list is not all inclusive, but you get the point I am trying to make here. If you are a citizen, then you are covered under this health care system regardless of whether or not you are able to afford medical insurance or not. This is beneficial because we have millions of citizens in the United States who are either at poverty level or below. It seems there are a lot of people that are below poverty level and struggle to make ends meet. They are unable to provide for themselves or even their families. People in this category cannot even begin to think about or get medical coverage for themselves or their kids. Why? It is too expensive! Yes, we do have other governmental assistance options like Medicaid, but what about those that do not qualify and are not able to afford health insurance? Every day during our normal daily lives we at least come across one person on the side of the road, outside of a store or restaurant, and even while walking to our destinations. I have noticed that most of the time these people are homeless, injured, or both. Some of them are even veterans and still stranded with no help financially or medically. They have no way of getting access to healthcare due to insufficient funds, being without a job, and lacking health insurance. Granted, we all know that not everyone that we come across on the side of road, or anywhere really, is in need of assistance. Some of them are just trying to make some extra cash by manipulating others into thinking they need help, but that’s beside the point.
I must point out that universal health coverage does not cover every medical service needed by every individual. Like most insurances these days, there would be certain restrictions on what is covered and paid for. Most likely it would cover routine, preventive, and essential coverage, along with dental, vision, and prescription coverage. This would all depend on what gets funded and how it is decided based on funding and necessity. Most likely everyone will be covered for the same services or procedures. The ultimate goal, though, is to get everyone covered at a lower, more affordable cost. Moving towards this type of health care would make the price of coverage based on your income. Thus, if you have a lower income you will pay for your insurance at a lower cost. Not only does a lower cost play a big part in why we should move towards universal coverage, but it would help people live healthier lives and allow them to work longer without a lot of disruptive health problems. We could catch our health problems early on and get it taken care of before it gets out of control and extremely expensive. “Healthy individuals make for a healthier work force, with less lost time at work, greater productivity, and a more positive work environment” (McCanne, D. R., n.d.).
Now, you might ask yourself, “Well how can we achieve united health coverage”? There are a couple of different ways that it can be implemented/funded. One of them is a single payer system. This is much like that of Medicare where a single government fund from the government would provide and pay for medical care (McCanne, D. R., n.d.). This would get rid of the private insurance companies and their health plans that are becoming outrageously overpriced these days. What used to practically always be around a ten to twenty-dollar copay has now come to high deductibles, out of pocket costs, and monthly insurance plans. These plans used to be a whole lot cheaper and allow for a small deductible to be paid in order to be seen by a medical professional. Now, most people are stuck paying 80/20 with a minimum out of pocket and deductible of over two thousand dollars. Granted there are lower deductibles, but that comes with a price not a lot of people are able or willing to pay at the high rates insurance is currently at.
It seems that the price of insurance is increasing every year like that of our cost of living, while our pay is not increasing along with it. Of course, in order to pay for universal health coverage, it would have to come out of our taxes, but us working folk are already seeing taxes coming out for things like Medicare. The cost for everyone to be under a single payer system could potentially be more, or it could be less. Either way, it would even out because if any one person lost their job, they would be guaranteed insurance regardless of whether or not they are paying taxes into the system. The question is, are we willing to pay more in taxes to get more affordable, better access to healthcare?
Another option towards getting universal health coverage is through a two-tier health care system. This two-tier system would allow for individuals to buy extra insurance using their own funds and not under the government subsidized dollars (Gruber, J., 2009). If people wanted more coverage and access and could afford it, they could opt to purchase that additional coverage. Most of us end up paying for more medical coverage than we even use. Personally, I only go to the doctor a hand full of times and have been lucky enough to not have to have any surgeries, but I am paying for decent coverage. The two-tier system could help those of us who pay for more coverage than necessary by providing minimum standards and helping those of us who are “…. subsidized to levels well above such minima” (Gruber, J., 2009). It could provide for a minimum standard level of coverage, and again, allow you to opt for additional coverage as needed or as elected.
In all reality, the two-tier system sounds very beneficial. The two-tier system would still allow those that do not have medical coverage or access to be covered as well. This helps everyone all around by providing coverage for those that do not have it while also allowing for extra coverage. This seems like a win-win to me. It’s always nice to have an option on how much money you are willing to spend. We all know that when we pay for, or have more medical coverage than needed, we become babied and feel the need to go to the doctor for every little thing. Due in part to the fact that we have it in our mind set that we are paying for it, so why not use it?
I believe that either way the universal health care system gets set up, whether it be by a single payer system or a two-tier system, it will only bring about good. As stated previously, cost is a big deal when it comes to insurance. To further clarify this, I am going to explain what my grandparents went through most of their lives. My grandfather was never in good health and had to stop working around the age of 50 because of his declining health. This left my grandmother working full time and having to support both of them. My grandfather was getting disability, and I believe a social security check, but it was not enough. They lived pay check to pay check, and if you are familiar with someone who has diabetes, you know what it is like having to pay for medications. He had diabetes really bad, along with other things. His insulin was over $90 a month and that was with insurance! Can you imagine having to pay almost $400 a month for just one medication, not included any others or even doctor visits?
pros and cons
“Done right, it will return far more to our national prosperity than it costs in tax dollars.”
“single most powerful concept…”
“primary healthcare system to improve access and manage healthcare costs”.
two tier system
- McCanne, D. R. (n.d.). Would single payer health insurance be good for America?. In Physicians for a National Health Program. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from http://www.pnhp.org/publications/would_single_payer_health_insurance_be_good_for_america.php
- Gruber, J. (2009). The Case for a Two-Tier Health System. In MIT Economics. Retrieved from https://economics.mit.edu/files/6415
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