Universal Healthcare Essay

The United States is a wealthy nation, yet there are millions of Americans who cannot afford adequate healthcare. The current healthcare system uses a tremendous amount of money, yet is grossly inefficient. There is only one practical solution to this escalating problem; The U.S. needs to replace its current private healthcare system with a universal healthcare program due to its benefits in cost, availability to all and increased efficiency.
Americans (under 65 years old) fall into one of three categories: the uninsured, the privately insured (either through an employer or privately), and those insured under government programs. There are approximately 45 million Americans, about 15.5 percent of the population, who have no health insurance
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In fact, America falls below other industrialized nations in studies of the health and treatment of its citizens. The U.S. has higher rates of infant mortality and a shorter life expectancy (Bure, 2004; Chua, 2006; Wikipedia, 2007). American life expectancy is rated 24th by the WHO against comparable nations (Clemmitt, 2006). America was also found to have fewer doctors, nurses, and hospital beds per person than other comparable nations (Chua, 2006). This is in addition to the fact that only a percentage of the population has healthcare coverage at all. The WHO rated the U.S. 37th in industrialized nations in overall quality of healthcare (Clemmitt, 2006). In 2000 the WHO ranked the U.S. the worst in “fairness in financing,” with the poorest people receiving the worst treatment (Bure, 2004). In addition, America was rated by the WHO 15th in “attainment,” 37th in “performance,” and showed the U.S. to have only a 40percent satisfaction rate amongst its citizens (Bure, 2004). Due to healthcare in the U.S. being available based on a person’s ability to pay, many problems in quality of care arise: the sickest and poorest (the citizens who often need the most care) are least able to receive treatment, treatment centers are forced to minimally care for those who are unable to pay then be rid of them before using up too many resources, and many citizens are turned away altogether and disrespected …show more content…
Providing all citizens with healthcare can provide an opportunity to stress preventative healthcare, which results in decreased spending on expensive intensive treatment later on (Wikipedia, 2007). The Institute of Medicine estimates that the cost of covering those who are currently uninsured could reach $34 - $69 billion dollars by when? (Chua, 2006). However, the benefits and savings of cutting out private insurance companies can more than offset this cost. A Harvard study showed that a universal system could save $286 billion in administrative costs alone (Himmelstein & Woolhandler, 2006). These savings would be sufficient to insure the uninsured and improve quality of care nationwide. The savings could also be used to make up for formerly uncompensated costs to providers. The economy would significantly benefit from the increase in overall health and productivity of all citizens. With the money saved on expensive insurance premiums, American businesses could lower prices and compete more fairly with overseas companies. A report published by Dr. Kenneth Thorpe (an economist) analyzed four possible ways to provide healthcare to all American citizens. The plan that saved the most possible money was that of a universal healthcare program, which he calculated to save $1.1 trillion in ten years (Chua, 2006). This plan involved extensive cost controls, mostly in administrative spending. A single

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