Healthcare: A Right, Not A Privilege

According to the World Health Organization and the Physicians for a National Health Program, the United States spends twice as much per capita on healthcare compared to other countries such as Canada, Britain & Germany, who have universal healthcare. It is currently considered a privilege in the U.S., not a right. Those that support the healthcare initiative believe that it should be a right to have affordable, quality healthcare instead of just a privilege.

A barrage of opposition (rationing, government interference, economic recession, cannot afford to make universal healthcare a reality) has been negatively affecting the potential of the reform. The reform will continue to push through until everyone has affordable, quality health insurance. I support Obama’s reform because 47 million Americans can no longer afford health insurance, the constitutional right that they deserve.

The healthcare system in the United States, a private system (HMOs, PPOs, etc.) fails to provide these Americans with quality care. Even working, middle-class families who have health insurance, where both parents have a stable income struggle to pay for it. Or they have to risk losing their homes because their providers might bail out on them when in the time of need.

“Holly trips over a hole in the ground and falls down and screams. I whirl around and she’s crying, her face turning from pale-white to crimson. ‘Something snapped’, she sobs. ‘I heard it snap’. I helped her up, ordered Marge, who’s been standing there with her mouth hanging open, to take her other arm. “We’ve got to get you to an emergency room.” I say. ‘get x-rayed right away.’ But all she’ll consent to is calling Ted from the next house.” (Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed)

Enrenreich’s experience illustrates that in order for the working class poor to “get by” they often must choose to delay the care they need. In 2001, about 1.5 million American families filed for bankruptcy, half of it due to the inability to pay their medical bills. The U.S. spends 31% of medical expenses on administrative costs, compared to Canada’s 16.7% administrative costs.

Although in the last couple of decades, we have observed many potential solutions to this growing problem healthcare reform did not occur. To make matters worse, premiums soared and coverages were reduced. If the private system lacks the ability to cover the millions of uninsured Americans, then the time to change to something more efficient and effective has arrived. Britian spends on average $2,992 per capita. France’s healthcare system, social insurance, provides insurance to all legal residences. The government regulates the budget and the salaries for the hospitals. France spends on average $3,601 per capita. Not to mention that these countries have a long life expectancy than those of us who live in the U.S.

To Americans who are unfamiliar with the healthcare system in the U.S. (the HMO), this system allows healthcare providers to charge premiums for health insurance. The healthcare provider decides whether or not they should cover your condition. And often times, these health insurance providers bail out on their customers. Over the last few years, insurance companies tripled their profit and the U.S. ended up spending $7,290 per capita. If we spend twice as much per capita than any other country, why not make universal healthcare a reality?

Everyone has a right to healthcare, especially in the respectable democracy we live in. Due to the recession, many Americans become one of the 47 million uninsured. These citizens need quality and affordable healthcare the most. The U.S. can afford it especially when we spend twice as much per capita and providers tripled their profit in the last couple of years. By making universal healthcare happen, there would be less bankruptcy, a better economy and everyone would be better off.