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The Single Payer Universal Healthcare

Executive Summary

The theme of demand and supply is indeed vital when addressing matters related to healthcare delivery. While most governments in the developed world may be in a position to offer the most affordable and subsidized healthcare facilities to their citizens, it is imperative to mention that such a challenge posed by costly healthcare delivery is still an issue of concern. It is against this background that the principle of demand and supply is relevant if citizens are to be provided with the much needed healthcare services. Single payer universal healthcare usually refers to the type of healthcare system whereby healthcare responsibility is directed towards one party only. A good example is an insurance pool for collection and payment of healthcare fees. Therefore, a second party such as the government, only acts as a contractor in the process. Single payer healthcare implies that all individuals are liable to receive healthcare services as one of the fundamental rights of citizenship in countries endowed with such healthcare programs. In such cases, healthcare is measured as a basic right for all people regardless of their social class or political ranks. This simplifies healthcare provision and makes it easily accessible to most people since service provision will have been decentralized from one party. Unlike marketplace commodities like clothing, electronics and other technological inventions that are considered to be privileges, quality healthcare that is easily accessible has been regarded by the United Nations as a basic right.

In many countries, the growing political debate on this issue has centered on provision of quality healthcare and therefore reflecting its significance in society. The fact that many people are still considering it as a fundamental right, healthcare debates in these countries have remained elusive since the set goals on healthcare as a basic human right are hardly met. On the same note, political leaders have in the past promised to build systems that provide universal healthcare but have failed to do so to the present. This has, therefore, continued to arouse public interest with promises of implementing systems that offer single payer universal healthcare dominating public attention. For instance, in past political campaigns, millions of Americans have shown the expression of affordably and accessible healthcare as one of their top and main concerns. Currently, universal healthcare is only present in all developed countries with an exclusion of the United States of America. The reasons for its absence in the U.S have been inclined towards the for-profit attitude of the American economy. Thus, many people in the United States still do not access quality healthcare and are not, therefore, taken as a fundamental right in this nation.

Universal healthcare can be considered as a solution to the current crises in the healthcare industry. Since healthcare is normally composed of all domains of the human society, it is imperative for such systems to be given priority. The need for healthcare is exceedingly inexplicable since it stands as one of the most basic needs of the world today. This may largely be due to the fact that health care cost has skyrocket with the advent of technology and thus supply should catch up with the daily needs for better health.

Introduction

It is imperative to note that universal health care should be provided for under the identified market forces of demand and supply. By considering other healthcare systems, there are still discrepancies that fail to justify reasons for not implementing quality and universal healthcare. For instance, the United States healthcare system has failed to supply quality healthcare demanded and thus is ranked low in the world. Quality universal healthcare would reduce the rates of infant mortalities in countries that practice it (Sherrow, 2009). For instance, the United States of America ranks badly in the quality of healthcare provided as compared to other industrialized nations that practice universal healthcare. In elaboration, the US currently ranks twenty third globally in infant mortality, twentieth in life expectancies for women and twenty first in life expectancies for men. In immunization rankings, the United States ranks sixty seventh, after some countries from the developing world. This is an indication that the non-universal healthcare system of the United States is still not efficient as thought by healthcare providers. This also indicates that despite the higher per capital income of the American people, healthcare is not within reach of many Americans. There is, therefore, demand for better healthcare accessible to all Americans, calling for universal healthcare that is available to all Americans thus improving their health status (Goodman, Denis & Moyers, 2009).

The reason why the United States is currently in this difficult situation is largely due to the lack of concern and responsibility among policy makers in healthcare. Single payer universal healthcare would bring in government concern in healthcare and thus raise responsibility for healthcare provision. This would improve the situation experienced by countries such as the United States of America, infant mortalities would drop, life expectancies would rise and immunization rates go up (Shi & Singh, 2012). At such point, Sherrow (2009) argues that government responsibility and thus government concern will be highly evident in healthcare sector. For effective healthcare, a concerned body should be put in place that is responsible for healthcare such that there would be low rates of infant mortalities, high life expectancies and high levels of immunizations and thus better ranks in health care provisions.

From an economical perspective, single payer healthcare would cut down administrative costs involved in delivery of the many payer healthcare schemes under practice currently. Companies involved in the delivery of healthcare services have employed numerous employees who are paid monthly salaries. It is estimated that many payer healthcare sectors consume as much as approximately 70% of the available budget in running their companies, implying that very little is left for catering of healthcare services (Shi & Singh, 2012). If a single payer is allocated healthcare responsibility, then these costs would drastically drop and hence offer more allowances into budgetary allocation for better healthcare services (Goodman, Musgrave & Herrick, 2004).

Exploring the theme of demand and supply in healthcare delivery

Goodman, Musgrave and Herrick (2004) dispute that healthcare is crucial for the population in enabling them discharge their duties fully. Although healthcare cannot be equated to goods and services, its demand surpasses others and thus its supply should be high enough to meet needs under demand. It is estimated that more than five million Americans do not meet the needs of the healthcare services they require. Due to undersupplies in the healthcare sector, many people have become underproductive. Therefore, owing to such increasing trends in under-productivity, there is bound to be a financial plummet and thus overall fall in the fiscal year revenues. Moreover, low trends will enable the government to collect low taxes from such business and thus reduce government expenditures. But with better healthcare, productivity is bound to increase raising company revenues and thus government revenues at the end of each fiscal year. There is, therefore, need for a single payer universal healthcare that will be able to provide for these needs and keep the economy under a steady growth trend (Shi & Singh, 2012).

Implications of single payer universal healthcare

Universal healthcare is associated with numerous benefits. There is direct association of universal healthcare to easy access thus providing the required supply of healthcare. Quite a number of Americans and citizens may be able to access universal healthcare at the right time of need. Goodman, Denis and Moyers (2009) contend that unlike current trends whereby healthcare is only accessible to the rich American elite, universal healthcare is indiscriminate and will provide platform for equality in accessing healthcare to all people despite their social class or race.

Furthermore, there will be more available benefits based on necessity and not capacity to pay, which have not been considered to be special in the current healthcare. As per the current healthcare plan, special needs such as rehabilitative, home care, preventive and public health measures have not considered being unique but would be considered special under the universal healthcare program. Other needs such as mental healthcare, recommendation of drugs and medicinal supplies would be readily available in the single payer universal healthcare system.

Payment of medical services would be virtually absent in the universal scheme implicating elimination of hospital billing. Instead, the government would be giving lump-some amounts of money to cater for such bills. It would also be responsible for other budgetary expenses to cater for plans such as expansion and purchase of equipment such as those that deal with medical technology.

In terms of human resource supply, the government would be expected to either hire medical staff or give them available demand options (Sherrow, 2009).. By giving provisions for employment by the government, unemployed medical staff could seek employment and thus balance the forces of demand and supply. Similarly, they would be given options of providing service for pay which in turn will drive demand and supply to equilibrium. Another option available or which the government would avail to these medical practitioners would be to serve as HMOs. This is imperative for many medical officers since it provides room for wider generated revenue when providing service while at the home environment (Battistella, 2010).

Owing to centralization in delivery of healthcare services, financial administration of the costs incurred in the system would solely be funded by the federal government. Other administrative duties should be given to another party, for instance, an insurance company to run the healthcare system through collection and payment of healthcare bills (Battistella, 2010). The need for deductibles and other costs such as premiums would be totally eliminated from the healthcare system thus creating a force free environment balancing demand sand supply. This will lead to reduced healthcare tax accumulated from payroll. Products with higher exposure to disease and other complications such as cigarettes would have an added tax of approximately two dollars per pack. This would help raise money for supplementing the healthcare budget, increasing its capacity.

Due to centralization, there is bound to saving of various costs including administrative ones. The removal of private administrators such as insurances and other costs considered as waste, more than US $150billion could be saved to cater for the needs of those currently feeling the underserviced healthcare. Also the elimination of intermediates in the healthcare sector would help save more than US $230 billion in a small span of time, an amount that would help meet the needs of the demand of healthcare (Geyman, 2010).

Additionally, the availability of universal healthcare has led to the projection that all people would be subjected to high-quality and inclusive healthcare including the right of choice of hospitals and medical practitioners to attend to them. This would mean that the supply of universal healthcare would greatly meet the population’s demands for healthcare. Doctors, will also experience better pay packages and improved working conditions. Due to the companies hiring great number of employees, there would be a direct response from such institutions of work as endorsements. With endorsement from more than fifty such big companies will be easily achievable since the chipping in processes of these companies will lead to a reduced footage of healthcare billing by the government.

There will also be an implication that hospitals will experience reduction in massive numbers of experts required in the administration of hospital facilities. The insurance and business worlds will experience reductions in incurred costs since demand and supply will be directly controlled by taxpayers (Preker & Langenbrunner, 2005).

Evaluation of universal healthcare system

Although the single payer healthcare system has outweighing benefits, there are observable slants in it. With the single payer, there would be unequal access in terms of the rich and the poor. The rich might use their might to overtake the poor at places of service provision. With a central body handing healthcare, incentives given to pharmaceutical companies to come up with new medicinal products would greatly reduce thus reducing the cases of supply of the new products under demand in the healthcare sector. With such reduced supply of new products in the healthcare sector, treatment of some disease may remain history and pandemics resulting from mutated disease causing organisms resulting from periodical resistances of pathogens might erupt and wipe large amounts of populations. (Preker & Langenbrunner, 2005).

Due to limitations in patience attendances due to high turnouts at health facilities, the long waits are bound to worsen the conditions of patients and endanger their lives. This has been experienced in countries with universal single payer healthcare programs whereby as many patients have been left unattended for as long as more than twelve hours. This is bound to impact economic growth negatively. This show that demand would outweigh supply in the healthcare sector creating crisis in medical attention (Hart, 2010).

Taylor and Weerapana (2009) posit that with large number of patients at health facilities and reduced physician compensations; motivation of the medical practitioners is bound to fall thus reducing the efficiency of the single payer healthcare system. This is so because demand would also outweigh physician supply causing another heavy crisis in the medical sector. The forces of demand and supply might be at imbalance points and thus witness crisis evolution in the healthcare industry (Taylor, 2006).

Assumptions

It has been greatly assumed that the government is be able to shift once from the current healthcare system to adoption of the single payer universal healthcare due to demand and low current supply without hurting immediate present healthcare providers. With these assumptions, there is obvious ignorance of the current healthcare providers in the new single payer universal plan hence ignoring the amount of jobs the amount of which would be numerous in the process of adoption.

Adoption of the universal single payer healthcare would assume that it will take place immediately. Immediate implementation of the plan would mean realization of the single payer healthcare plan but the source of rollout funds has not yet been identified. This assumption implies that the government has enough funds in the treasury, ready to roll out the single payer universal healthcare plan but due to its unwillingness, the plan has so far failed (Taylor, 2006).

Limitations

This plan has its limitations. To begin with, the current government campaigns are carried out by investors in the healthcare industry. They tend to buy out control in the government and elimination of such private practitioners would be painstaking especially when it comes to immediate implementation of the single payer universal healthcare system. Another limitation in the implementation of immediate implementation of the plan is the demand for jobs. There is demand for jobs which have been less supplied and elimination of this system would mean that more jobs would be lost instead of more jobs being created. This would create a demand and supply crisis in the job market hence negative economic impact.

Recommendations

In order to put in place the cheap universal healthcare system accessible to all, there is need for time consideration. Implementation of single payer universal healthcare would need to be done in phases. The first phase should involve public awareness. The second phase should involve identification of the required sources of funds that would lead to its implementation. The last phase should be to rollout out the plan while giving the present healthcare providers time to get assimilated into the new system. Delineation of involvement of powerful healthcare providers in political affairs should also take stance as another very important recommendation.

Conclusion

From the discussion, it is evident that single payer universal healthcare is important in society today as dictated by market forces of demand and supply. Due to the provision of single payer universal healthcare, the right to health would be achieved and thus provided as one of the fundamental citizen rights. With current continual attention in the provision of universal healthcare, achievement of the system is bound to facilitate healthcare services thus improving quality of healthcare (Hart, 2010). There is also great need for implementation of universal healthcare system since the universal healthcare is associated with numerous benefits. From an economical perspective, single payer healthcare would cut down administrative costs involved in delivery of the many payer healthcare schemes under practice currently. With accessibility of universal healthcare, it is predicted that all people would be subjected to high-quality and complete healthcare including the right of preference of hospitals and medical practitioners.

Although the single payer healthcare system has definite benefits, there are apparent challenges which may not be evaded. For example, patient demands would slacken provision or supply of health services due to high attendances at health facilities. Worse still, the long waits are bound to deteriorate the conditions of patients and imperil their lives. Motivation of the medical practitioners is bound to fall due to reduced medical compensations for physicians hence worsen healthcare delivery (Hart, 2010).

In order to oversee the implementation of single universal healthcare, there is a need to consider the relevance of time. Since these activities involve numerous players in the healthcare industry, phase implementation will be preferred in order to keep the forces of demand and supply in the healthcare sector at equilibrium.

References

Battistella, R. M. (2010). Health Care Turning Point. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Geyman, (2010). Hijacked: The Road to Single Payer in the Aftermath of Stolen Health Care Reform. London: Common Courage Press.

Goodman, A., Denis, M. & Moyers, L. (2009). Breaking the sound barrier. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.

Goodman, J., Musgrave, G.L & Herrick, D.M (2004). Lives at risk: single-payer national health insurance around the world. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Hart, (2010). Patient-provider communications: caring to listen. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett.

Preker, A.S, & Langenbrunner, J. (2005). Spending wisely: Buying health services for the poor. Stockholm: Sida

Sherrow, V. (2009). Universal Healthcare. New York: Chelsea House.

Shi, L. & Singh, D. A. (2012). Delivering Health Care in America: A systems approach. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Taylor, J.B (2006). Principles of Microeconomics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Taylor, J.B. & Weerapana, A. (2009). Economics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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