List Of Pros And Cons Of Universal Health Care - Health insurance allows a person to receive medical care and treatment when they need it. Health systems are included in government policies to improve people's health and prevent them from succumbing to disease (Drouin). Thus, to make the system effective, different combinations of funding sources must be considered, along with delivery infrastructures, payment schemes and healthcare providers. The ultimate goal of a health program is to keep people healthy and lead quality lives that ultimately lead to a productive nation.
A system considered ideal by many governments and individuals is universal health care, because a person can seek care at any time and from any health care provider. In this way, everyone would have good health and quality of life. It is managed by a single health administrator, not multiple health insurance companies (Lohman). All documents are handled by the administrator. Although hospitals and doctors are independent under this scheme, patients are free to choose the doctor or health facility they seek care from. In addition, a patient can use universal health care for other services that are not covered by Medicare. This includes many medically necessary care services, such as hospitalization, mental health services, prescriptions, doctor visits, home care and rehabilitation, and eye and dental care. (Field).
List Of Pros And Cons Of Universal Health Care
Providing comprehensive health care would make people healthier and more productive. Therefore, this scheme is implemented by many developed countries such as Canada, Russia, Germany, Great Britain and parts of South America (Hu and Hsieh). The United States and South Africa are the only two industrialized countries without universal health care. (Lohman).
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One important component in the implementation of a universal health plan is the source of financing, which is the backbone of any health plan (Drouin). Funds can come from collected tax revenues (allocated to the health system) and private health insurance schemes. A universal health plan is quite difficult to implement because it would require costs (Rodriguez). Funding a universal healthcare system would be a challenge as the amount of money needed to manage and run the scheme is huge. The International Labor Organization encourages the implementation of universal health insurance with financing from various sources for effective service delivery (Drouin). According to Lebow (2003, 26, qtd. Rodriguez), other developed countries provide insurance coverage to all their citizens, but still spend less on health care than the United States.
The United States has a complex healthcare system and is rated poorly compared to other developed countries (Rodriguez). Despite trillions spent on health care (Tooker 2003, qtd., Rodriguez 43), 40 million people are still uninsured (Rodriguez). In countries with universal health care, the government spends less money to cover everyone because it can save money from the large administrative costs of the United States (Rodriguez). In America's current billing system and with more than 1,000 private health care providers, it's no surprise that costs are rising. (Rodriguez). Insurance premiums are currently very high in the United States (Some Advantages par. 5).
The US government administers Medicare to provide coverage for people under 65 with certain disabilities, over 65, and people with permanent kidney failure. (Hogberg par. 6). It is financed from taxes and revenues, bonuses and own resources (section 7). If Medicare is available to all, taxes will rise (paragraph 11). Because everyone benefits, according to Senator Ted Kennedy, everyone must share the responsibility (Senator Ted Kennedy 2005, para. qtd, para. 11).
Although the United States is struggling to adopt a universal health plan, the current economic situation would not allow it with its huge deficit and debt (Tulchinsky and Varavikova). At the local level, even New York cannot implement universal coverage (Some Advantages par. 1). Data from the World Health Organization show that out of 29 developed countries (Shi, Singh and Shi), only the United States had difficulties with the introduction of the system. Due to the lack of health care provided through this scheme, many Americans are deprived of medical and health services. The American system has not been updated in years, so it cannot respond to the current situations that patients and doctors face (Edelman and Mandle).
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Although many Americans use private insurance coverage, the financially disadvantaged remain uninsured, causing the nation's overall health to decline (Gupta). The United States currently operates a "managed care" system where people use health services based on their ability to pay. This leaves the poor and lower-middle class without health care,
The effectiveness and benefits of universal healthcare can be seen when comparing the US and Canadian healthcare systems. For example, despite spending 15 percent (of GDP) on health care in the United States, only 85 percent of citizens are covered (Lohman). Canada, on the other hand, spends only 10 percent of its GDP on the same goal, but 100 percent of people are covered. At a time when US spending was 14 percent of GDP (1994), Germany spent less than 10 percent of its GDP (Reinhardt). Although those covered pay 50 percent more, it ranks 37th in overall performance and efficiency in the World Trade Organization (WTO). More than 45 million citizens do not have a health plan, while another 50 million are underinsured.
The implementation of a universal health system would face challenges such as: impartial health insurance for all, the ability to prescribe a formula to reduce drug waste, abuse by both doctors and patients, and the adoption of procedures that protect patients from fraud (Hu and Hsieh).
Canadian health care, called Medicare, offers universal coverage and is free at the point of use (Irvine). Universal health insurance began in Canada in 1944, when Saskatchewan was the first. The federal government shared funding with the provinces on a fifty-fifty basis (WHO, 1996, qtd., Irvine). All provinces implemented universal hospital care in 1958 (Irvine). The federal government again offered a fifty-fifty split if the provinces provided coverage that met four criteria: comprehensiveness, public administration, portability and universality (Irvine). Kraker (2002, qtd. Irvine) said that in 1971, all Canadian citizens had access to basic health services "regardless of employment, income or health".
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Medicare is funded by public sources but run by the private sector. The five characteristics of the Canadian system are: a) universal, b) portable, c) comprehensive, d) accessible, and e) public administration (Irvine). Health insurance is locally controlled, gives doctors autonomy, and gives patients freedom of choice (Kraker 2002, qtd., Irvine). The main providers of health services are provincial governments (Irvine). Local governments also a) plan, evaluate and provide hospital treatment; b) negotiate salaries of health care providers and c) negotiate fees for medical services. When planning at the local level, each province's insurance plans differ from one another and cover all possible "medically necessary hospital and physician care" and may even include optometry, dentistry, chiropractic and prescription drugs.
The simplicity of Germany's health care is deliberately designed by parliament, thus facilitating administration and regulation (Reinhardt). It also uses a top-down general budget during Physician Payment Review Commission (PPRC) public hearings. Its universal health scheme followed in the footsteps of the century-old Voluntary Mutual Aid Fund (Gleick). However, when the Universal Health Plan was established, it was adopted along with the effects, advantages and disadvantages of voluntary mutual aid in force at the time. Through the benefits of the scheme, the German government decided to involve all people in contributing to the scheme, which is a better and improved version common in developing countries.
Health brings people together, so the government puts it high on the priority list (Reinhardt). All people, regardless of social class, use the same healthcare system. About 90 percent of the population supports 1,000 independent and semi-private health insurance funds, and only about 10 percent use commercial insurance. With a social payment scheme, the reward is based on a person's ability to pay.
The health system of France is ranked number one by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000 (World Health Report 2000, qtd. in Rodwin). France, like Germany and other European countries, started with the introduction of several mutual aid funds, which were later integrated into a universal health system aimed at every citizen (Tulchinsky and Varavikova). French healthcare does not allow patient freedom of choice, competition between insurance companies and contracts between financial sources and healthcare providers, unlike the UK, Germany and the Netherlands (Rodwin). This
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