Universal Health Care Should Be Available to All Americans

“He’s got a 103 degree fever,” exclaims the worrisome mother as she rushes through the kitchen to grab an ice pack in hopes of decreased temperature. The single mother of three begins to panic as she realizes, yet again, her child is ill. The young boy then begins to vomit and passes out. Take the child to the emergency room immediately would be the logical explanation, but for most this is not possible. Down the street an elderly woman falls and breaks her hip trying to maneuver to the restroom. As a result of the recent death of her husband, she has no one to help her; she lives alone.

The woman realizes she can reach the phone, but is dismayed by the fact that she will not be able to afford the doctor visit or even the ambulance ride to get her to the hospital. In this case, one would suggest health insurance to help cover the cost of the expensive medical bills, but most Americans do not have the ability to attain health insurance. Both of these situations have one thing in common; the patients, regardless of the reason, are left hopeless because of the lack of health insurance resulting in poor health and, in some cases, death. Universal health care should be available to all Americans because it would allow all United States citizens cradle to grave security, ensure quality health care, and provide peace of mind.

First and foremost, one must discuss what exactly a human right is. Does it have restrictions? Does one have to meet specific requirements to qualify for specific human rights? And most importantly, who decides what is and what is not a human right, anyway? Michael McCrystal, Professor at Marquette University Law School, and Alison Barnes, Professor in health law at Marquette University, define a human right first as evolving from congenital law, but being built around the honor and value of an individual (Barnes). One can infer from this definition that a human right is something that an Americanis born with.

Once it is known that all Americans are born with human rights, one must also presume that obtaining human rights is in no correlation with any type of qualification because human rights are congenital. One then may ask who decides what is a human right and what is not. The United Nations website reports that in 1948, a commission chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt assembled the Declaration of Human Rights. Among the thirty articles, included in this Declaration, are definitions of civil and political rights as well as definitions of economic, social, and cultural rights (United Nations). From this information, one can assume that all human rights are included in this declaration.

When reviewing the Declaration of Human Rights, it is clear that many of the articles relate to the right to healthcare. Some would disagree, such as Theodore Dalrymple, British physician, who argues that humans do not have a right to healthcare (Dalrymple). Even though this statement suggests some do not believe healthcare should be a human right, many disagree; this is proven in the Declaration of Human Rights. As discussed earlier, this Declaration defines many rights, including the right to healthcare.

Article twenty-five of the declaration reads, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. “(Flaskerud).

When analyzing this article, it is made obvious that healthcare should be human right when the declaration mentions medical care being a part of an adequate standard of living. Not only does the Declaration suggest the right to health care in article twenty-five, but McCrystal goes on to admit that articles one and two also pertain to the right to healthcare (Barnes). This statement supports the fact the three specific articles in the Declaration of Human Rights relate to the right to healthcare.

Even though the Declaration of Human Rights suggests that all individuals should receive healthcare, many individuals are not; as a result of a lack of health insurance. The United States Census Bureau confirms that the substantial number of 1.4 million uninsured patients increased to a whopping forty-fivemillion between the years of 2000 and 2003 (Rashford). This proves that many Americans are not receiving the healthcare that they need.

Confirming this statement, a study from the Department of Emergency Physicians confirms that “one in three patients is uninsured, and one in four children is also uninsured” (Rashford). These statistics are from 2003. Only one can imagine how many individuals are uninsured now; eight years later. With this many Americans uninsured, it is easily inferred that many go without the health care they need, and the consequences can be life altering. The obvious alternative is Universal Health care.

Universal health care is a government provided health care system that will allow all citizens to acquire the health care they need, without worrying about paying for the medical bills that follow. Rashford describes the purpose of Universal health care as being a general health care that is provided to all. She goes on to state that this type of health care would include access to “family physician services, preventative services, specialist services, surgical services, rehabilitative services, long-term care, and prescription medications” (Rashford). It is clear that if Americans were provided with all these services, free of charge, it would provide for all individuals, better health in all aspects.

Rashford also claims that services that are not necessarily life altering could be provided by private insurance or individual employment. These services include but are not limited to: eye care, dental care, and home care services (Rashford). This information suggests that all essential services would be provided for each American, and additional services could be provided individually. With the necessary and basic level of health care services that would be provided for each individual through a Universal Health care program, all citizens could rest at ease knowing they have cradle to grave security.

One may think health insurance is easy to attain, MarleiseRashford, RN, points out that it is not as simple as it may seem. Rashford states that the cost of prescriptions and medical services has steadily increased, and as a result of this inflation, many are not able to afford health insurance leaving them without access to sufficient care (Rashford). While reviewing this statement, it is clear that with the current economic conditions, it is not possible for most Americans to receive health insurance. Without this insurance these individuals are not able to attain quality health care, leaving most individuals to suffer less than satisfactory health conditions.

Rashford continues to state that as a result from lack of health insurance, many individuals begin to rely on Emergency Departments, such as the Emergency Room, for critical care. However, these departments are not able to resolve all of the uninsured patient’s conditions because most times the problems require specialty care that the Emergency Departments cannot provide, or the patient is not able to afford the prescriptions the Emergency doctor prescribes (Rashford). Thus concluding, even though uninsured individuals may have access to emergency care, they still face ramifications due to complicated underlying problems that require specialty care, or expensive prescriptions.

Many individuals argue that a Universal healthcare system would require much more money than the United Stated could fund. Richard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado argues that regardless of how the United States could fund a Universal Healthcare system, there will always be medical circumstances that will cost more than the fund could pay (Lamm).

By stating this, Lamm is suggesting that no matter how many tax dollars go to a Universal Health care fund, and no matter what alternatives the United States could come up with to save money, there will always be individuals with medical problems that will cost more than what the healthcare system could fund; Kathryn Bourgoin, MD, disagrees with this statement. Bourgoin states that in 2007 the United States healthcare bill is worth 2.3 trillion dollars annually. She goes on to add that with a Universal healthcare system, the United States would only spend 1.86 trillion annually (Bourgoin). From this information, it is clear to see that switching to a Universal healthcare system would save the United States trillions of dollars each year.

Currently the healthcare bill has increased to 2.7 trillion; these numbers coming from Philip Caper, MD, who breaks down the annual savings for the States. Caper begins by stating that switching to a Universal healthcare planwould be able to save 810 billion dollars annually as a result of avoiding the complications of dealing with individual insurance companies (Caper). This statistic supports the idea that not only will Universal healthcare benefit all citizens, but it will benefit America from the savings alone. With this extra saved money, the United States could decrease the amount of National debt by a substantial amount.

One could imagine, over the course of ten years, the United States will save over eight trillion dollars. This savings alone would cover over half of the Nation’s debt. These numbers are only from money that would be saved because of avoiding individual insurance companies. Rashford reports that not only can a Universal health care system be beneficial to those reaping the medical care, but one study confirmed that the United States would save 286 billion dollars a year, just on paperwork; this savings alone would be enough to support all uninsured individuals, in addition to providing prescription drug coverage (Rashford).

From this, one can infer that a Universal health care system would save more than enough money to provide all individuals with sufficient health care, without spiraling the United States into further debt. This type of plan would also provide additionalcapitalto cover the cost of unfortunate health issues that tend to cost more, as Richard Lamm previously stated, and yet the plan would still provide enough savings to help the United States knock down the National debt amount.

As well as decreasing the Nation’s debt, a Universal Healthcare plan would allow others to pay off previously acquired debt, and prevent further debt from accumulating. Bourgoin admits that of all the bankruptcies in the United States, fifty percent of them are a result of medical debt (Bourgoin). This information suggests that many individuals do not have insurance to pay for medical services or prescriptions; thus resulting in the inability to pay off debt, or possibly the large amount of debt from received services is not covered completely by the insurance provider.

Rashford adds that although some individuals are able to obtain health care insurance in order to compensate for expensive medical bills, an abundance of Americans are not able to afford such insurance, leaving some to depend on social security benefits (Rashford). Many situations such as these cause Americans much stress and heartache because the individuals will spend the duration of their lives compensating for the debt that a Universal Health care plan would have covered easily without horrifying side effects that the patients now face.

As any American knows, health care services as well as prescriptions cost money, and usually a large amount of it. The idea of tax money paying for every individual’s health care is a frightening thought to some; however, when one examines and calculates the true cost and savings of a Universal health care plan, it is clear that this type of plan would be beneficial for all.

It has previously been discussed that some individuals are affected because of the debt they have acquired as a result from expensive medical services and prescriptions. However, some suffer from an opposite effect; completely avoiding the health care they need because of the cost. Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, chairman of the department of ethics at the National Institute of Health, claims that some patients may have the ability to fly to top rated hospitals for expensive procedures, but for most middle class individuals, this is not possible (Brink).

Emmanuel is suggesting that although some wealthy Americans may be able to fly to first class hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins, many Americans cannot. This may be because of the cost of travel, or possibly the cost of the health care itself; in which costs are steadily raising in both situations. The Commonwealth Fund study also found that, “half of Americans did not fill a prescription or skipped a medical test because of cost…and 26 percent went to an emergency room for a condition that could have been treated by a regular doctor (Brink). From this information, one can infer that to some, health care costs are impossible to pay; in turn, many Americans do not receive the routine or emergency care that they need.

Furthermore, the second part of the quote suggests that some Americans do not have health insurance, causing them to go to the emergency room, a facility that will serve patients without insurance. However, when patients are forced to choose this route, an emergency room bill can consequently be more than these individuals can afford. Not only do both alternatives have serious ramifications, but when individuals occupy an emergency room, when their case is not necessarily an emergency, it prevents individuals in critical condition from getting the care they need; thus resulting in a negative effect to the community.

Not only is Universal health care beneficial in the sense that it provides health care for all, but it will also protect the community. Some disagree with this statement, such as, William Easterly, professor at New York University who argues that Universal health care is not beneficial; he proposes the idea that more lives would be affected negatively rather than positively (Easterly). When reading this account, one could begin to believe that Universal health care would not be beneficial to the individual, nor the community.

Rashford disproves this idea by stating that the community suffers from uninsured individuals; proven in a study that observed an increased number of tuberculosis cases in areas with underinsured or uninsured individuals (Rashford). One can collect from this information that not only would the patient suffer from the illness or disease he or she is carrying, but the community’s health will suffer as well.

The community can suffer from uninsured individuals but there are also many other consequences. Rashford continues to support this comment by finding that many physicians believe that uninsured patients suffer from worsened illness because of the lack of health care the patients are able to receive (Rashford). When one begins to analyze this remark, it becomes clear that Universal health care is needed.

Many worry that this type of plan will cost too much, or some just do not want to be responsible for paying for others health care, admits Michael McBane, national coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition (Orient). However, without this type of plan the community will suffer many more consequences other than tax payer dollars going towards individuals’ health care. This is because illness, disease, or even epidemics can break out when there is a lack of health care. Not only are these medical conditions affecting the individual, but some are contagious and will begin to effect families nationwide.

The facts and statistics prove that Universal health care is what America needs, but some still are skeptical and argue that this type of government provided health care would not be beneficial. However, with the costs of health care rising, soon most Americans will not be able to afford health care; the consequences will be devastating. Not only do most Americans need Universal Health care, but it was recently reported for Social Policy Magazine that locals from Vermont felt so passionately about Universal health care that they assembled an enormous campaign to support what they believe should be a human right; Universal Health care (Kissam). As the information suggests, citizens want and need this type of provided health care.

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