Universal Healthcare in the United States
Healthcare system is one of the most important social institutions in every state. Its development and up-to-date technologies have a great impact on health of individuals and their well-being. The universal health care is one of the main institutions around the world which helps the states to supply and provide a population with medical services t all costs. The United States is a single developed country without universal health care. The advantage of universal health care is that it allows states to treat debases and support people in need. The main problems identified by researchers are financial budgeting and increased role of technology at expense of human relations and communication. One of the side effects of the preoccupation of the people with the capabilities of high-tech medicine has been the neglect of the role that individuals can and must play in the maintenance of their own health through wholesome personal behavior and life-styles (Naidoo and Wills 87). The potential contribution that expanded efforts at preventive medicine and health education can make to the nation’s health has also been neglected. Although there has been a marked decline in smoking and, to a lesser extent, the consumption of alcohol (largely among the better-educated, higher-income population), the nation has been plagued by increasing use of addictive drugs. Paying for healthcare services creates more uncertainty and doubt for American citizens while the universal healthcare would ensure stable development and coverage of all social classes.
Universal Health Care
In contrast to the traditional USA, healthcare system, universal health care is funded by general taxation and all residents receive It is important to note that even under the centrally controlled National Health Service, approximately 30 percent of all elective surgery is performed outside the governmental system. In most other countries of Western Europe as well, payments originating outside government and insurance–that is, out-of-pocket contributions of households–often comprise 20 to 25 percent of total health care expenditures (Moran 77). In European countries with universal healthcare, the governments enact legislation prohibiting the purchase of supplemental private insurance, but within a few years the unpopular measure was rescinded. In the United States, a country characterized by variations in income levels and a historic commitment to individual freedom of choice and decision making, it would be difficult to conceive of a reform effort that aimed to impose a cap on all expenditures for health care, including the use of personal funds by individuals who wish to obtain one or another type of approved medical treatment (Armstrong et al 23).
The universal health care suggests that when consumers are forced to rely on out-of-pocket disbursements to pay in whole or in part for a variety of products and services, low-cost as well as luxury items, the demand for these items declines. In the arena of health care, obvious examples are the virtual disappearance of private accommodations in hospitals (the few single rooms that remain are reserved for physicianprescribed situations) and similarly, private duty nursing, the low frequency of cosmetic surgery and the underutilization of dental care (Naidoo and Wills 77). This eases to some degree the pressure on governmental and insurance payments. In general, health care analysts believe that individuals should continue to be responsible for selected payments, partial or full, for the medical services and products that they need or desire. There is, however, disagreement on the role that out-of-pocket payments should play in determining the demand for health care services. Given the difficulties of designing and implementing an effective mechanism for budgetary constraint in the health care sector, it would appear judicious to allow households to supplement the funds provided by government and insurance (Kotlikoff 43).
Advantages of the Universal Healthcare
The advantage of the universal health care is full coverage of all populations improved quality of life. Today, in the USA, the opinion polls suggest that a growing majority of Americans favor early action to provide insurance coverage for the entire population, although they express considerable ambivalence about assuming any significant additional tax liabilities to pay for it (Naidoo and Wills 65). The elderly and the population approaching retirement are concerned that Medicare does not offer extended nursing home coverage. If either universal coverage or long-term care, or both, were easy to finance and implement, their enactment along with a program aimed at moderating total health care expenditures would elicit broad public support. However, the relative indifference of the public thus far to the remorseless increase in health care expenditures, the erosion in benefits that many will face as part of a major reform effort, and the difficult choices that will have to be made among alternative methods to restrain total outlays suggest that it may be preferable, at least for the time being, to defer the issue of long-term care (Moran 87).
The universal healthcare will help the American government to reveal and test chronic diseases at early stages of development and provide medical treatment for ll people in need. Research so far suggests that the internal market for health has not significantly expanded the choices available to patients and doctors. Inevitably, with significant purchasing power in the hands of general practices, there has been a shift in power away from consultants and toward fund-holders. Waiting times for treatment are reduced, for example, because a consultant has spent a day a week in the fund-holder’s own clinic, or the provider has extended its facilities. In addition, laboratory testing has improved by competition from private services, that have generally been able to exercise more influence over hospital services (Armstrong et al 65).
On one analysis, the closure of a hospital ward, indeed the closure of the entire hospital, may represent the finest example of market forces in action. Patients, however, may hold that the same hospital in the highest regard. To them, its closure might be considered a disaster. A ‘pure market’ cannot take into account, as researchers recommended, how and when the adjustments should occur. For this reason, the effects of the market in health care must be regulated to preserve continuity and standards, and to implement strategy. Additional funding is needed to plan the adjustments which market forces introduce. To maintain consistency and reliability, funds must always be reserved for the purpose of allowing services to be phased in or out over a reasonable period of time (Williams and Torrens 44).
In terms of the health care system, the nation has never faced up to the issue of providing all members of the society with insurance coverage that would ensure them access, or at least remove the financial barriers in seeking access, to essential health care. Although the issue has gained increasing visibility, the United States has been slow to undertake such a commitment (Raffel and Barsikiewicz 65). There is, however, another side to the coin: Americans have at the same time refrained from decisions that would explicitly impose rationing, such as prevails in many other advanced countries, where age and similar criteria arbitrarily limit the availability of high-cost medical interventions. Arguably, such avoidance is a failure, not an achievement, since distributive justice and equity might be better served by a formal system of rationing. However, many patients who would have been refused critical services under a formal rationing system have benefited from life-prolonging treatment under the more haphazard arrangements that continue to prevail in the United States (Raffel and Barsikiewicz 87).
In sum, the universal healthcare will help the USA to improve quality of life and treat chronic diseases at early stages. This incentive to attract more customers has no doubt enabled some hospitals to do more work than others. It has not, however, entirely resolved the problem of the efficiency trap. In this case, even the most efficient hospitals with the greatest income will face the prospect of exhausting their revenue before the end of the financial year because the money available to purchasers remains limited. As a general rule services provided to patients in the healthcare shall be free of charge except in so far as the making and receiving of charges is expressly provided for by or under any enactment. However, private fee paying care may be provided in hospitals. Similarly, under arrangements made with medical or dental practitioners, a health authority may allow accommodation and services to be made available for the treatment of private patients of the practitioner. Like government, most employers have felt committed to paying the health care costs incurred by their employees. The other side of the coin reflects the mounting claims for payment, submitted primarily by physicians and hospitals that have operated under few market or other constraints to control the volume of services that they provide even while continuously striving to improve the quality of care that they offer.
Armstrong, P., Armstrong, H., Fegan, C. Universal Health Care: What the United States Can Learn from the Canadian Experience. New Press, 1999.
Kotlikoff, L. J. The Healthcare Fix: Universal Insurance for All Americans. The MIT Press; 1 edition, 2007.
Moran, M. Governing the Health Care State: A Comparative Study of the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1999.
Naidoo, J. & Wills, J. Health Promotion: foundations for Practice. London: Baillière Tindall, 1997.
Raffel, M. W. Barsikiewicz, C. The US Health System: Origins and Functions 5th Edition. Delmar Cengage Learning; 5 edition, 2001.
Williams, S., Torrens, R. R. Introduction To Health Services. Delmar Cengage Learning; 6 edition, 2001.