Universal Health Care
Universal Health care is a type of government created system in which every citizen of a country is given access to various forms of medical care, even if they do not have the resources to pay out of pocket. While the citizens may be able to pay for some services out of pocket, much of the money for Universal Health care will come through tax or insurance. One of the first countries to institute this form of medical care successfully was Germany under Otto Von Bismarck. However, the very first Universal Healthcare program was created in Great Britain.
Some of the other countries which offer Universal Health care include Australia, France, and Italy. Virtually every industrialized nation currently offers some type of Universal Health care except for the United States. While the definition of Universal Health care greatly remains the same, the actual structure of this system will vary from one country to another. The system also varies in terms of how much the government is involved. For example, while some nations allow private doctors to offer their services, other countries do not. In the United Kingdon, doctors can choose to offer services which are outside the government system, but Canada has more restrictions on their medical services.
It is important for readers to realize that Universal Health care is a very wide concept. There are a number of ways in which such a system can be utilized. However, the most basic factor in implementation involves the process of allowing all the citizens within a nation to be given access to health care for an affordable rate. Because implementing such a system requires a large amount of money, many governments tax their citizens in order to fund it. The government also decides how the care must be administrated, and who is allowed to receive certain types of care. While many countries use taxation to fund this health care system, the patient may still be required to pay a reliably small fee as well.
Because the Universal Health care system has worked well in many countries, some citizens and politicians in the United States have proposed the introduction of such a system in their own country. American proponents of Universal Health care are quick to point at the rising cost of commercial insurance as evidence that Universal Healthcare would work. Indeed, the cost of health insurance in the United States has become so high that millions of Americans go without health insurance each year, and should they become sick or injured, the cost of medical care could cause them to go into bankruptcy.
Proponents of Universal Health care excuse that the utilization of their system would make it more affordable for all Americans to afford healthcare, and millions would not need to go without medical insurance. While the United States does not currently have a Universal Health care system, the government does provide health care for certain segments of the population, such as veterans, the disabled, senior citizens, or those currently serving in the military.
However, it is important to note that Universal Health care is not without its opponents. Those who oppose Univeral Health care often raise questions as to who would pay the most in taxes for such a system. These people argue that depending on the rate of taxes to be charged, many of the same people who currently can not afford medical insurance would be hard pressed to pay taxes for a Universal Healthcare system. If the taxes are too high, they appeal, then the rich would suffer the largest tax burden, but this is the very same group that is the least likely to need Universal Health care in the first place, since they can afford to pay for private health care.
Many high income American citizens are opposed to Universal Healthcare because they feel they will be forced to pay for something they personally do not need. In addition to paying for their private medical insurance, they would then have to pay taxes for Universal Health care, a service they would not likely use. Opponents of Universal Health care also argue that there are Constitutional issues that come into play. They argue that the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution makes it clear that any powers not granted to the American government in the Constitution must be decided by the states.
Opponents therefore argument that the 10th Amendment demonstrates that only the US states have the power to decide on the issue of Universal Health care, not the Federal government. However, proponents of Universal Health care counter this saying that the system has worked successfully in other industrialized nations, and if it works there, it can work in the United States as well. One thing that is certain is that there are strong arguments on both sides of the fence, and only time will tell which side is correct. It should also be noted that about 15% of US GDP goes towards health care payments, and this is the highest of any country on the planet.
It should also be noted that over 80% of the US population already has some form of medical care, whether through their job, the government, or a private company. This has led some opponents of Universal Health care to claim that such a system is not needed, since only a small percentage of the US population does not have health insurance. However, proponents argue that while 80% of Americans may have some form of coverage, the 20% who do not is too much. When you consider the fact that 20% of the US population would be around 60 million people who do not have coverage, it becomes hard to argue with this point.
It should also be noted that the cost of health care in the US is one of the fastest growing phenomena in recent history. In fact, the rising cost of healthcare is even rising faster than the general rate of inflation. From 2001 through 2007, the rate for family health insurance premiums rose by more than 70%, which is unprecedented. Aside from a government based program for Universal Health care, many cities and states in the US are already in the process of implementing their own Universal Health care plans.