The US healthcare system is broken. That is unless you work for an opulent healthcare or pharmaceutical provider. In that case, US healthcare works like a charm (from a for-profit perspective).
But let me put my business degree away for a minute. As a citizen and patient, I now believe in universal healthcare in America just like I believe in socialized libraries, policemen, firemen, public schools, and highways. Here are five reasons why:
- Socialized medicine doesn’t always mean lower quality. While privatization of industry always increases quality, at what point do you factor in the law of diminishing returns? A system where the rich enjoy superior healthcare at the expense of basic healthcare for the poor and middle class doesn’t make sense. I’ve seen examples in Australia, France, the UK, Canada, and even Brazil where universal healthcare works. It’s not perfect and has its challenges, but do those challenges warrant the insane amount premiums we pay and very poor customer service we get from Cigna, Humana, Blue Cross, etc? I don’t think so. Rumor even has it that socialized Cuba has doctors and technology comparable, if not better than some in the US.
- I have received universal healthcare to my satisfaction (usually). I lived in socialized Brazil for two years and received delightful healthcare on several accounts with no superfluous waiting periods. I got stitches in my head for free at a very clean facility, I visited the doctor for cold medication several times only having to pay about $2.50 for drugs, and my roomate got a highly subsidized, quality root canal on demand. I also received sub-par care while having an ingrown toe nail removed in the country, but I’ve also received sub-par medical care here in the good ole US of A. Considering how much a US doctor might have charged for my toe infection, I still would have taken the sub-par, albeit functional Brazilian healthcare in lieu of paying several thousands of dollars for US healthcare. Imagine the possibilities of a high quality, American universal healthcare system, then!
- I’ve been screwed by US healthcare (story here). In addition to my parents and numerous other paying clients, US health insurance companies will actually look for ways to maximize profits at the expense of your health. Good business requires the maximization of profits, but good business in this sense compromises life which is ultimately bad business. “Denial management specialists” are real folks, and that’s just wrong.
- Doctors can still get paid well by the government. One important factor to remember in this discussion is that doctors in a capital market have the right to achieve limitless financial success. I sympathize with that right but now believe we should socialize that right here in America like we have done for policemen, librarians, municipal workers, fireman, government employees, and any other profession with a salary cap. But socialized medicine doesn’t equal Commie results. And do you know who the number one most desired client is in the private sector? The Federal Government. That’s right, they pay on time, they pay very well, and there’s no reason they wouldn’t do the same for doctors, especially good ones with incentives. If a good family doctor in the socialized UK can make $200,000/year, why can’t it be the same if not better here in the US?
- Micheal Moore’s SiCKO makes a convincing, albeit dramatized case. It should be noted that the catalyst of this post was in watching Micheal Moore’s upcoming Sicko documentary on the failure of US healthcare. After seeing the screener, I came away moved and floored, enough in fact to push me over the edge on the subject. The documentary is classic, fact-contorting, and one-sided Moore, but the subject matter speaks for itself. According to the film, the US is the last country in the western hemisphere without universal healthcare while many other countries such as the UK, France, and Cuba enjoy systems that work far more often than they fail. Sure the film glamorizes the disputed and free Canadian healthcare system, but Moore’s film dexterity shines bright, patronizing dialog aside. Filter the filmaker’s bias accordingly, and you’ll find copious amounts of evidence in favor of a universal healthcare system for Americans.
Our privatized healthcare system is ineffective, costly, and dehumanizing. I realize universal healthcare costs money (read: higher taxes), that revolutionizing the system is only possible by including healthcare companies in some way, and that the American dream comes at a price. But must that price include for-profit healthcare that is broken for more people than it superiorly helps? I no longer think so.
See also: The truth about the US healthcare system
DISCLOSURE: I’m a conservative who voted democrat in the last state election, I’m not very active in politics, I believe in smaller government (like cut other state programs in favor of healthcare), I believe in God, I’m a capitalist (usually), and I pay $3600 a year in health premiums at the chance of coverage because my health insurance company has an insane amount of liberty to deny future, present, even past coverage. Now that’s what I call customer service!