Federico Manzo

Universal Health Care

Virtually every civilized country in the world offers its citizens universal healthcare. Recently, the United States Supreme Court approved President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Although, similar to universal healthcare it still fall short of providing medical assistance to all citizens.

Universal healthcare is paid for by an increase in taxes. The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, only raises taxes for those who make over 200k per year and corporations. In an effort to ensure every citizen has health care, those who do not purchase insurance will face a tax penalty.

Despite the rhetoric floating around, the Affordable Care Act is not universal healthcare. Countries that provide their citizens with universal health care have many advantages and disadvantages over the United States.

Advantages

* Free Healthcare
With a universal healthcare system, everyone has free medical care. There is no cost. Patients do not have to worry about being able to afford to go to the doctor.

* Government Funding
A universal health care system is funded by government-mandated or government-run programs.

* Unlimited Care
Citizens with universal healthcare have unlimited medical care. They have the benefit of going to the doctor as many times as necessary. There is also no financial cap placed on the medical care, unlike the United States; insurance companies in the US often have a lifetime benefit limit. Being able to go to the doctor frequently helps catch often life threatening conditions early.

* Less Paperwork
Countries that have universal healthcare always automate and standardize all medical records which helps make less paperwork. Doctors in the US often have to have a staff working diligently to weed through the various paperwork that is required by the many insurance companies.

Disadvantages

* Increased taxes
To pay for universal healthcare, countries have substantially higher taxes than the United States

* Inferior Care
Doctors in countries with universal healthcare usually have a high number of patients and are often overworked. Such conditions often contribute to the patient receiving inferior care.

Healthcare should be available to all, regardless of the ability to pay. Universal healthcare offers just such a benefit. In the US, even having private insurance does not guarantee the ability to pay because of co-pays and non-covered expenses. Families with private health insurance often sink into a mound of debt during a health crisis. With universal healthcare the worry of financial ruin is taken away.

The United States Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction. It offers insurance to over 30 million Americans who have currently been unable to be insured. Despite the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, it still falls short of being true universal healthcare