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Is healthcare in America a basic right or privilege? Does America care about health?

Updated on November 23, 2010

Some Thoughts on Rights and Privileges

Until I joined Hubpages in the summer of 2008 I lived in blissful ignorance of American Healthcare issues. Sure, I knew that there was no national scheme, but I assumed that everyone was covered by medical insurance, and that those who were poor, elderly or disabled were somehow taken care of by the State. After all, that's what we do in the West, isn't it?

Well apparently that's not the correct version, nor is it even partially correct. There will be some who say, that being British, I have no right to pass an opinion here, but I beg to differ. Health-care should not be a privelege, available only to those that can finance it. It should be (as it is here in the UK) available to anyone and everyone who is in need of help.

On this site I have read about people who fear ill-health in much the same way that Londoners once feared the Bubonic Plague. Every little niggle that might potentially turn into a nightmare, is dwelt upon, home remedied, tolerated, and then suffered, before a visit to a doctor or an emergency room is considered. How can this be right in the same country that can afford to give millions of dollars in bonuses to bankers that have driven the economy into the ground?

Health Care Insurance, it seems, is a very specialised form of gambling. If you go to a race-track and put your money on a horse you may or may not win. If you put your money into a healthcare policy, you may or may not qualify for assistance. Insurers wriggle and squirm like a tank of eels when a claim drops on their desk. Yes they have your money, and may have had it month in, month out for years, but will they let you have any of it back when the need arises? Oh, only if you meet the specified criteria for the claim, and only if the paper-work is in order, and so on, and so on.

Would it be such a disaster to introduce Universal Healthcare? Those who do not wish to contribute towards the good health and well-being of others should examine their reasoning. If everyone pays into a national scheme through taxation at source, and the government oversees the administration of this fund, paperwork is reduced, costs are reduced, standards of care will improve, and most importantly people who have previously been unable to afford healthcare need no longer live in fear of ill-health. This benefits everyone. No-one should live in fear, and no-one should wish others less fortunate to do so.


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