A Brief Clarification on Universal Healthcare

Hey everyone, today I’m going to briefly discuss a few objections to Universal Health Care in the United States of America.  This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list, nor is it in any way meant to say that there are no concerns regarding Universal Health Care.  I also am not advocating any specific method Universal Healthcare should be implemented–I’m not a healthcare expert or a Politician, so I’m not particularly qualified to do so.  However, I can address a few misunderstandings and hopefully promote a discussion on how to fix the healthcare crisis in the US.

  1. Universal Healthcare Is a Step Close to a Communist America: First, I would like to discuss the difference between Communism and Socialism, because while there is overlap between the two they are two entirely different concepts, such as a hot dog and a sandwich.  Communism is government ownership of the means of production, such as factories, mines, and farms.  Socialism is the redistribution of wealth.  While “redistribution of wealth” may sound scary, all it means is that funds provided through taxes are used to provide a service to citizens.  If you support public schools, fire departments, and even a military, then you support “the redistribution of wealth”.  More importantly, having socialized policies does not make a country a socialist country.  Our country has had socialized policies before socialism was even a thing (And so has virtually any country with a government, because that’s what a government does, provide services.  Well, part of what it does).  Likewise, just because a country like Denmark has capitalist policies (such as private ownership of property and means of production) does not make it a capitalist country.
  2. America Already Has Systems in Place to Provide Healthcare for Those Who Truly Need It: Yes, America does have services such as Medicare and Medicaid that provide health care to millions of needy Americans.  These services are far better than nothing and truly do a lot of good.  However, they are inadequate and alienate many needy people.  A large part of the problem is the Poverty Threshold.  Those who fall at or below the Poverty Threshold are legally considered to be in a state of “Absolute Poverty” and qualify for certain types of government aid.  Those who are slightly above the Poverty Threshold may qualify for reduced or partial aid.  What makes the Poverty Threshold problematic, however, is the formula behind it.  The current formula for the Poverty Threshold has existed since the 1950’s, and is “Cost_Of_Foodx3”.  Back in the 1950’s, food was the largest expense for a family, and this formula largely worked.  However, this is no longer the case.  Advances in storage and transportation, as well as agricultural technology, have lead to food being one of the cheapest expenses for a family.  Changing society and economy has caused things such as insurances, childcare, and debt to become a much larger expense.  Because food is no longer the largest expense for families, this formula no longer holds up in today’s world.  It causes millions of Americans who fall into the category of “Relative Poverty” (meaning they make less than the average amount for comparably sized family units) instead of “Absolute Poverty”, where they should probably belong.  Because of this, they no longer have access to the same benefits, even if they need them, or only have access to insufficient benefits.
  3. America Cannot Afford Universal Healthcare: Actually, it can, and it would potentially be cheaper than the hodgepodge of solutions we have now.  According to a 2018 (meaning recent) Harvard Study, America spends proportionately more on Healthcare per resident than other developed countries (the overwhelming majority of which have Universal Healthcare) yet has “the shortest life expectancy and highest infant and maternal mortality rates among any of its peers”.  This is not saying that the exact systems these other countries have would work in America, but is saying there’s a strong correlation between Universal Health Care and an overall higher standard of living.  It also shows that a single-payer system universally (pun totally intended) actually costs less than a mixture of subsidized and private healthcare we have today.  Another issue is decreasing regulation on the prices of medication.  With many types of medication, there is very little (if any) regulation on the cost Labs can charge for medications.  While they are going to have to charge more money than it costs to produce the medication to make up research costs (research is expensive and lengthy) they are charging exorbitantly more, sometimes exponentially greater.  Many of these medications are sustainably sold in other countries at lower, more affordable rates.

Hopefully, for the three issues I discussed tonight you’ll come out with a greater understanding of them.  Some of you may even disagree with Universal Health Care as the solution, but I hope that at least you recognize the need for a solution.

“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.” Deuteronomy 15:7

 

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