- Politics and Social Issues
Public vs. Private Health-care
Interference or benefit?
Public vs. Private Health-care
Many Americans believe the U.S. government should provide government funded healthcare for everyone. With the number of uninsured in America estimated at over 50 thousand, for some it may seem as if the government is neglecting to ensure us of the right to health care, regardless of our financial status. But there are others who believe “the government is incapable of operating a public funded insurance option” (McGroarty, 2009). Those people who believe the government to be incapable claim public insurance would be another benefit scheme like Medicare and Social Security, and would further exacerbate financial crisis. The most fundamental question, of course, is whether or not the government has a moral obligation to provide health care for all its citizens. The government does have such a moral obligation, and it is already fulfilling it through Medicaid, Medicare, and numerous other programs. We do not need to rely on the government to provide all our healthcare needs at the expense of shifting monies from existing, much needed benefits such as Medicare.
Actually, polls show that most Americans feel that we should not let people die on the streets, and that we should take care of them when they "really need it." The debates start when we try to discuss how to fulfill this obligation. Should we do it like we do now, with multiple levels of care, where those with money and/or good insurance can get attention more readily and earlier than those who don't have those resources? What's wrong with that as long as everyone eventually gets care? (As then-President George W. Bush once said, we have "access to care" because anyone can "just go to the emergency room.") (Johnson, 2010)
This approach is counterproductively flawed. People without health insurance do tend to delay getting care, and often end up getting it in the emergency room because of the delay. The care is often more complicated and costly than if their illnesses could have been treated at an earlier stage. This information leads us to the conclusion that it is not healthcare per se that needs to be addressed; technically we have universal healthcare already. The real issue at hand is how to make quality and preventative healthcare available and affordable to everyone.
Pros of government healthcare:
Government healthcare will provide expanded coverage for U.S. citizens, covering up to 95 percent of legal U.S. residents. Plus, preventative care will be free, and insurance companies will have to accept everyone, without limits on coverage or pre-existing condition exclusions. Competition with newly formed public entities will ideally make the entire insurance industry more competitive. Prescription drug costs will be more affordable for seniors. Finally, it is reform, and we need healthcare reform. The current system is not functional, so any kind of reform helps.
Cons of government healthcare:
Medicare benefits will change dramatically. More than $500 billion in cuts in the Medicare program, as well as raised and expanded Medicare tax will be used to fund the healthcare reform. In addition, the program will add another $940 billion to the national deficit. There will be no new incentives for primary health care physicians, who get no bureaucratic relief under the current reform bill. That also means longer wait times, more obstacles, and potentially higher specialist cost for consumers. But that’s not all. We will see more taxation as well. Medical device makers will see a new 2.9 percent excise tax, and families earning more than $250,000 per year will have to pay higher Medicare taxes (Drea, 2010).
The bottom line is we need to learn to take care of ourselves and our loved ones without relying on the government to do it for us. If that is not possible due to financial constraints, there is always some form of government assistance available.
Drea. (2010, March 22). 9 Pros and Cons of the New Health-Care Reform Bill. Retrieved November 26, 2010, from Business Pundit: http://www.businesspundit.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-new-health-care-reform-bill/
Johnson, T. (2010, October 15). Excerpt From "The Truth About Getting Sick in America: The Real Problems With Health Care and What We Can Do". Retrieved November 25, 2010, from AARP: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/books/info-10-2010/excerpt_from_the_truth_about_getting_sick_in_america_the_real_problems_with_health_care_and_what_we_can_do.html
McGroarty, E. (2009, September 15). Private Insurance vs. Government Benefits. Retrieved November 21, 2010, from American Principles Project: http://www.americanprinciplesproject.org/topics/miscellaneous/343-health-insurance-and-government-benefits-101.html