A neededchange to the health-care system

The United States should provide full medical coverage to all its citizens.

Over the past few years reports indicate that the money spent on Medicare and Medicaid will reach almost a sixth of our gross domestic product. The figure is expected to grow as more baby boomers start to reach the age at which they are eligible for Medicaid. As this cost increases, taxpayers will be expected to pay more taxes or the government will be forced to cut spending in other areas. Obviously the existing organization of government health care does not work. A new system in which every citizen is covered is a more viable solution.

The United States should provide full medical coverage to all of its citizens. Doing so would build a better future for our country. Some feel the cost of implementing a universal health-care system would be too tremendous, but they fail to consider the fact that we then would be able to reallocate the spending of Medicare and Medicaid. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, feels that by using these existing resources and increasing taxes by a small percentage, we easily would be able to generate the $1 trillion per year needed to implement a universal health-care system. By implementing a new system we also would be able to eliminate some of the bureaucratic overhead. This is estimated to save $399 billion per year, according to the Harvard Medical School.

Another aspect we must consider is the benefit to society as a whole. With a universal health-care system, we would be able to eliminate the struggle between patients, insurance companies and hospitals. Instead, patients only would interact with the government. This relationship would greatly reduce the cost of the medical treatment because there would be fewer entities trying to get their fair share. Another reason that ensures an overall reduced cost is preventative treatment. With a health-care system that is free to the patient, people will be more likely to seek preventative care. This would decrease the number of serious medical cases that require extensive treatment. The early detection of cancer, for example, likely would lead to fewer, more cost-effective treatments whereas cancer detected in its later stages would be much more costly for the patients and their families.

Opponents of universal health care claim it has not worked well in other countries or that it is not cost-effective. Universal health care has been implemented in many countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom. We should learn from their mistakes and their successes. We have the resources to design and implement an effective universal health-care system. As for cost, we cannot put a price tag on the health of future generations. It should be our goal to implement a new health care system that will be a model for the rest of the world.

A well-designed universal health-care system would be fair for everyone. Every person would be guaranteed the same medical treatment regardless of economic status. We would be able to eliminate the money-thirsty health insurance companies that put the bottom line before the health of their customers.

There is no reason not to implement a universal health care system. The benefits of a universal health-care system far outweigh any cost that is associated with it. The cost of health care is constantly on the rise. The current industry is out of control and has a monopoly on the health of America. The government should step up and look out for the people they are meant to protect.

Evan Long is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]