With COVID-19 still running its course and no end in sight, the integrity of American healthcare has never been more important. Is the current system truly the best the United States can do for its citizens? Or is socialized medicine a better alternative? Here are seven strong arguments for universal healthcare in America.
1. Lower Overall Costs
The costs of universal healthcare are far lower in other Western countries than private coverage in the United States. For example, administrative expenses alone make up 8% of the nation’s total healthcare costs. On the other hand, other developed countries with universal care don’t reach any higher than 3%.
What’s more, many Americans don’t seek the care they need because the cost of one visit can bankrupt them. Compared to other countries, prices for vital medicine, such as insulin, are sky-high in the United States. Universal healthcare guarantees service to everyone, no matter their financial status. When medical care isn’t such a financial strain, citizens can prioritize their health and seek the treatment they need.
2. Greater Hospital-Patient Trust
One disturbing reason American healthcare is so expensive is the trend of surprise billing. A routine surgery or treatment can cost thousands of dollars more than expected due to additional vague charges. You can even face a hefty fee just for sitting in a waiting room. The US government has made some efforts to fix this problem, but private medical facilities have managed to find loopholes in the legislation.
Universal healthcare takes the billing power away from these facilities, creating more trust between hospital and patient: Payment comes in the form of taxes. While nobody likes to pay more taxes, it’s fairer to pay a fixed amount every year than receive a debilitating hospital bill after one visit.
3. Better Quality Care
The quality of treatment under socialized medicine seems to work better for its citizens than America’s privatized system. Infant mortality rates are lower, average life expectancy is higher and fewer people die from medical malpractice, which happens to be the third-leading cause of death in the United States.
America also has obesity and cardiovascular disease epidemic, which fills up hospitals and leads to many preventable deaths. Comparable countries with universal healthcare have much lower mortality rates. This is because these nations promote more healthy lifestyles, easing the workload on hospitals and opening up space for people who need urgent care.
4. More Coverage
Americans rely on their insurance companies to pay for their medical bills, but insurance doesn’t cover every injury or sickness. As you might expect, many citizens go bankrupt from hospital expenses. In contrast, universal healthcare covers any medical issue that might happen to a citizen. So patients don’t need to worry about any loopholes or caveats in their insurance coverage.
5. Shorter Wait Times
Perhaps the biggest criticism of universal healthcare is the extended wait times, but Americans already have long waits. COVID-19 patients are filling up waiting rooms and hospital beds. Because of that, many doctors have begun to hold virtual appointments for patients who can’t see them in person. Still, this solution has only put a dent in the problem.
Patients under a universal system don’t have to wait for their insurance’s approval before seeking the care they need.
6. Greater Mobility
Since Americans often have to pay their own medical bills, they might feel pressured to keep unfulfilling jobs just for the insurance coverage. So in an ironic twist, they’re forced to put work over their health and well-being just so they can afford healthcare.
Universal healthcare allows you to change jobs without losing coverage. The current privatized system doesn’t embody American values of freedom and liberty. Rather, it restricts their life choices and access to care.
7. Coverage for the Uninsured
Insured citizens at least have access to some healthcare coverage, but the uninsured are entirely on their own. A large percentage of the uninsured have little to no disposable income, and they can’t afford the coverage they need.
Some evidence also suggests that uninsured patients wait longer and receive poorer care than more financially stable patients. As a result, the uninsured have an excess mortality rate of 25%, according to the Institute of Medicine. This negligence is unacceptable and largely avoidable. A universal healthcare system provides its people with care regardless of their insurance status.
America needs universal healthcare. The United States’ private healthcare system has too many glaring flaws to justify its existence. Adopting a universal plan would grant more cost-effective coverage to everyone, including the millions of people who currently can’t afford treatment. A more efficient and trustworthy system would help Americans exercise their fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Featured image via CDC on Unsplash