The Health Care Struggle
So many Americans remain uninsured due to affordability. However, lack thereof can be even more destructive. Last summer, I was a camp counselor downtown and every day I would pass a homeless man on the way to work. One day, I got to talking to him and he told me about his son – Zach.
Zach had passed away two years prior, at age seven. He had been very ill and the cure was effective yet expensive, so both his parents had to pick up an extra job to pay for it all – but coming up with the money proved an unexpectedly difficult feat, considering their lack of health care. Their inability to get Zach the expensive treatment led to his death, his mother’s suicide, and his father’s bankruptcy. While many people believe that universal health care is too expensive for something that is not government responsibility, in actuality it would result in fewer financial problems because of the problems that occur with a lack of healthcare that could be solved with government involvement. To begin, universal health care, sometimes referred to as universal health coverage, is a government-run system that provides health care to all citizens with a goal of avoiding personal financial ruin, enhanced medical assistance, and superior health access. It is true that universal health care would lead to more government spending and tax increases; the funding may come from areas such as defense and education, of which are very critical to society.
Such a system as universal health care is very expensive and could be a burden on the American public. Extensive medical bills have caused hard working middle class Americans to become bankrupt. In fact, in 2012 62% of bankruptcies were due to medical expenses, the number one cause in America. Health care should be equally as important as education, therefore supported by the government. By giving Americans access to free health care, they can be more financially comfortable – which encourages entrepreneurship and stimulates the market. With a health care system, there would be an increase of patients which could lead to longer wait time for needed treatments.
When the government just gives the people things, they will often also become lazy since they don’t have to work with it. Also with guaranteed health coverage, it may encourage people to partake in more risky behavior since they have fewer consequences to worry about. However, with a larger health care system, more professionals will need to be employed – encouraging job growth. With more patients, more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals need to be hired. When people have access to medical care they are healthier and therefore more motivated to contribute to society and be active and happy in their lives. According to a Harvard study, people who are less stressed and anxious can live a happier, longer life. When the government covers medical expenses, people can be less stressed and lead a more progressive lifestyle. Health care has become extremely unaffordable unless a person has insurance, and many people cannot afford that. According to childbirthconnection.org, in 2010 an average birth with no complications cost a little over $11,000 – having risen a thousand dollars every year since 2009. There are almost four million births every year; four million children that cost a minimum equal to buying 36 flat screen televisions.
Women are beginning to have home births in order to save money, putting both the mother and child at risk. By not making health care affordable for everyone, it causes people to make more drastic, dangerous decisions regarding their health. When people are healthy, they are happier and more useful to society. However, there are about 49 million Americans that are uninsured. If you didn’t have to worry about how much it would cost to give birth or get cold medicine – you would have much more economic freedom to peruse your dreams and have a healthier life.
The United Nations defines health care as a “human right” – that means everyone should have affordable access to health care. Don’t choose between your health and success or financial ruin; support a universal healthcare system.