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The Healthcare Reform policy sounds very complicated, even for our House of Representatives, which has been dealing with it for the past years. And for regular citizens, it is extremely complex to understand as well. During the Progressive Era, President Theodore Roosevelt was a strong supporter of health insurance. He believed that “no country could be strong whose people were sick and poor.” These days, we also have someone who shares the same philosophy, Senator Bernie Sanders, who is advocating for Universal Healthcare. I also share the same idea as Senator Sanders, that if we need to fix the Healthcare system, it should be in order to improve the life of all, not only of those who are able to afford it. Despite the efforts of President Barack Obama, 27.6 million Americans still are without health insurance today (Kaiser, pg. 1).
The insurance system is very complicated
America’s Healthcare system has different kinds of insurance. For instance, life insurance, car insurance, home insurance; but only healthcare insurance becomes more complicated and more expensive. Currently, the United States uses a combination of public and private healthcare, and the cost is one of the highest in the world. Insurance. Is a contract between the insurer and insured, whereby the insurer undertakes to pay the insured a fixed amount in exchange of a fixed sum (premium) on the happening of a certain event (like at in a certain age or at death), or compensate the actual loss when it takes place, due to the risk insured. High prices for premiums. The amount health insurance companies charge each month for coverage. It must be paid every month, regardless of whether you use the services or not. For instance, premiums can be paid by the employers, shared by both the employees and the insured, and the plan’s sponsor.
Deductibles. The deductible is a level expenditure that must be incurred before any benefits are paid out. Health insurance policies generally have yearly deductibles, which is less effective in removing moral hazard (Dewar, pg. 59). Coinsurance. Coinsurance is the proportion of the total expenditure that is paid by the insured. Coinsurance helps to reduce the moral hazard factor for the insured who has spent more than his or her deductible because healthcare is not free to the consumer (Dewar, pg. 59) Today, 27 million people have no health insurance
The majority of people who are left uninsured are from low-income families or even moderate-income families that simply cannot afford the high prices of insurance, do not have the option of obtaining insurance through their jobs, live in states where Medicaid was not expanded, or simply are immigrants who are not eligible for coverage.
A solution to the high prices of health care and uninsured citizens would be the adoption of a universal healthcare system. For instance, Canada has a national health insurance program, which is basically a government-run health insurance system covering the entire population. Universal care has proven to be less expensive and would likely improve health care access and outcomes for Americans (Gleason & Ridic, pg. 4). In addition, nationalized health care is a logical, moral imperative for the U.S., and it should be a right, not a privilege.
One of the advantages of adopting a national health insurance will be the significant economic advantage because the entire population will have access to health care regardless of money. Most cases of bankruptcy are not caused by reckless spending. According to Deb.org, most citizens claim bankruptcy by financial hardship, and many of them are low-income individuals who cannot afford to pay unexpected major expenses, for instance, due to job losses or medical bills.
According to a study published in early 2005, 46 percent of bankruptcies were related to outstanding medical conditions. For example, medical expenses not covered by insurance, or losing at least two weeks’ worth of work because of illness (Krulick, 2012). Additionally, copayments will be insignificant to pay. Citizens will not be filing for bankruptcy due to lack of money. Another advantage will be that physicians will receive payments on a negotiated fee service, and hospitals will receive global budget payments.
Cons of adopting Universal Healthcare (Single payer system)
In order to see the cons of the system, we should take a look at the outcomes and technology. I will remark that financial barrier does not exist. A research shows that approximately fifty-six percent of the respondents in Canada believed their health care system requires minor changes, and only five percent of the population think that Canada’s healthcare system needs complete rebuilding (Blendon, Leitman & Morrison, pg. 7). Overall, Canadians are very content with their healthcare system. The waiting list for diagnosis and surgery exist in Canada. The U.S. could experience waiting lists as well. The reason why Canada has been experiencing a waiting list could be because the government is currently spending less on healthcare than in other years. However, when Taiwan made the switch, wait times were not an issue. This could be different depending on the size of our population and how many people would utilize care once it is available to them. Higher taxes. Canada tax system represents the main revenue. Many of the benefits that Canadians enjoy are made possible through taxes. For instance, the government provides roads, schools, healthcare, social security, public safety, and others benefits to low-income families, charities, students, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Tax revenues provide social benefits. Old age security, Canada child tax, working income tax, universal child care benefits. Canadian residents support their tax system by paying their fair share of taxes, and in return, they benefit from the programs and services provided by their government. Importation of drugs from other countries. Senator Bernie Sanders proposes a “rule that would allow pharmaceutical companies to charge fair prices for drugs developed with taxpayer-backed research.” It sounds very logical since all citizens are paying for it, prices for American citizens should be more economical. In 2013, per capita, spending on prescription drugs was $858 compared with an average of $400 for nineteen other industrialized nations (Kesselheim & Ross, pg. 12).
We should be able to negotiate prescription drug prices. According to GoodRx discount, a 30-tablet supply of Invokana at a 100 mg dose will set you back $411 at Walgreens in the U.S., even with a coupon. Meanwhile, a month’s supply of that same dose of Invokana in Canada costs about $234. Having a competition in the market helps to reduce prices and open choices for patients or consumers. Importing prescription drugs from other countries will help to lower the prices and improve the quality as well. Another way could be, perhaps, the use of technology such as virtual doctor appointments. Innovation is a risk, but we will never know if we do not try it out. Additionally, the life style would be improved. Reducing poverty in the U.S. should be the most important thing to do. Inequities in the structure of societal resources vary and can be striking. According to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, “A population’s health is shaped 10% by the physical environment, 20% by clinical health care (access and quality), 30% by health behaviors (themselves largely determined by social and physical environments), and 40% by social and economic factors.” (Senterfitt et al., 2013). Sometimes, the perception of paying more does not necessary means or makes things better.
Despite having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, the bureaucracy that governs the healthcare industry has to be transformed to be more effective and to promote health, not just mitigate illnesses.
American Bankruptcy Institute. (2012). Annual Business and Non-business Filings by Year (1980-2011). Retrieved from https://ift.tt/2JvN6F3, J.W., Long, A., Shih, M., & Teutsch, S.M. (2013). How Social and Economic Factors Affect Health. Social Determinants of Health, Issue no.1. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
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