According to an American Journal of Public Health study, 45,000 people die each year due to lack of insurance. “Uninsured Americans of working age have a 40 percent greater death rate than their private-insured counterparts.” This number could drop dramatically if everyone had universal healthcare. These claims are supported by this Huffington Post story: “Georgeanne Koehler has spent dozens upon hours sharing the tragic news about her brother’s passing with anyone who will listen.” The tragic death of Billy Koehler, who suffered cardiac arrest when his defibrillator ran low on batteries, is a reminder of how anyone can die from lack of health care. Some countries have taken the initiative to create universal healthcare policies. Norway, for example, was the first country in the world to implement universal healthcare under a single-payer system. 16 years later Japan’s and New Zealand’s universal healthcare policies sparked a new wave. From 1945-1955 North Korea, Sweden, Belgium and Sweden each had a form of universal health care. Universal healthcare has contributed to better health and organized societies. 31 of 32 developed nations have universal health care, with the United States the only exception. If there are enough examples of what such a policy looks like, the rest might follow suit. Although it will be difficult for less developed countries to develop and sustain their populations, it is possible. Although some countries have already adopted universal healthcare policies, others would be able to do so with the help of the rest.
Universal healthcare is a positive outcome with many positive outcomes. However, there are potential problems that need to be addressed and ways they can be avoided. One is the issue regarding government spending. How much money would it take to fund universal healthcare? This issue can be avoided by creating a system that uses taxpayer money efficiently and effectively, but does not tax too much. In order to ensure universal coverage, taxes will need to be raised in many cases. Although taxes may be higher in this situation, it is not a bad thing. People would instead spend money on taxes, and thus save money in the long-term. Although it would be a significant change, it is important to see the future and how the policies can benefit the population. One example: The US government currently spends $7.65 trillion per year. However, if there was a universal healthcare program, $2.1 trillion could have been deducted and saved over time. The Balance defines universal healthcare as “a system that provides high-quality medical services to all citizens”. This is to provide a foundation of knowledge. All citizens, regardless of financial ability, can access it from the federal government. Universal healthcare’s main goal is to be universal. It must be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. Universal healthcare is often misunderstood as being free, easy to set up, and the same across the globe. Universal healthcare does not cover all the needs. It is important to understand that universal healthcare does not cover all needs. Universal healthcare sounds uniform and the same everywhere. However, this is not true. It is possible for the system to vary depending on the place where it is being implemented. Different healthcare systems are designed to be most effective and efficient for each country. Forbes and Stratfor state that the structure of a healthcare system is affected by history, demographics, economics and politics. This includes who pays for the services and how they are provided. While maintaining a healthy health system is an important problem for all, it does not have a universal solution. It is not easy to create a universal health care system. To be effective and beneficial to the population, it must be well-engineered and organized. Universal healthcare’s purpose is to provide medical care that is accessible to all.
Another important distinction to make is between universal or non-universal healthcare. According to my research, there are three main systems currently in place: universal, universal, and two-tier. Single-payer healthcare, also known as ‘Medicare For All’, is the first. The system means that all citizens of a country or area receive the same healthcare services, including doctor visits, hospital care, eyecare, and medication. VerywellHealth estimates that only 17 countries have single payer healthcare systems. Two-tier healthcare means that the government offers both a basic level of healthcare and also provides secondary coverage to those who can afford it. Universal coverage and single payer healthcare can be combined in this situation. This approach has been tested in several countries including Australia, France and Israel. Universal coverage means that everyone has healthcare access. Although universal health coverage can take many forms, 32 countries currently have some form of universal coverage. Some countries in these 32 have 98% coverage. However, it is not considered universal coverage. However, 18 of these 32 countries offer 100% coverage and have complete universal coverage. These countries include Australia (Canada), Finland, France and Germany, Hungary. It is important to remember that universal coverage and single-payer systems are two different things, even though people often use them interchangeably. Even though single-payer plans generally offer universal coverage, some countries have achieved universal coverage using single-payer models.
Once you have an understanding of the topic, let’s talk about why universal coverage makes more sense than the current situation in certain countries. Universal coverage means that every citizen can have the healthcare they need. People who can’t afford insurance would no longer be unable to get the care they need. This would result in a more stable and resilient population. Universal coverage reduces healthcare costs as the government regulates the cost of medications and medical services. Because there is only one insurer and system for the population, government costs are lower. There are also no administrative costs. Universal coverage makes the system more efficient, consistent, and sustainably viable for the population. The final benefit of universal coverage is that children can learn healthy habits early on, which can help them live a healthier, more fulfilling life.
When discussing the benefits of universal health coverage, it is important to examine countries that have universal coverage policies and how they run their healthcare. The New York Times’ Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll created an interactive article about different healthcare systems in the world. Some are universal while others aren’t. They had doctors, economists, and healthcare professors vote on which country has the best system of healthcare. A poll was also available in the article that allowed readers to voice their opinions. Canada (single payer universal), Britain and Singapore were the countries being compared in this article.
First, Canada won against Britain. The argument of “judges”, which was that Canada’s system was less efficient and had the exact same quality as Britain, was used to explain why the British system won. Britain won 76% of the votes, with 106,4899 people voting. The United States and Singapore were the next two pairings. The US offers healthcare that includes a mixture of all the above. Medicare is available for a select group of people. There is also private insurance through the workplace, private hospitals, as well private healthcare. Many millions are left without health care. Singapore offers affordable basic care. Singaporeans contribute about 37 percent of their earnings to mandatory savings accounts. These funds can be used for health, housing, education, or insurance. Part of the employer contribution is also available. The government plays a key role in deciding whether to invest in new technology. It controls the country’s medical students and doctors, as well as the amount of money they can earn. This contest was won by the United States (4-1) and 53% of the 89.943 voters. One judge said, “The problem with Singapore’s data is that it has higher rates and more severe strokes than the United States. The U.S. also has an innovative and dynamic health care system. It’s the engine for innovative diagnostics and treatments that Singapore and all other countries can take advantage of.
Next was Australia and France. Australia provides inpatient free care in public hospitals. The option of private, voluntary health insurance allows you to access private hospitals and other services that are not covered by the government. France has two options: compulsory health insurance (provided by employers) or voluntary health insurance (95%). 75% of doctors offer free healthcare. France won this battle 4-1. The judges also favored France (4-1). 80% of the 85.306 voters voted France. One judge stated that it provides nearly everything one could want and is more expensive than other countries. It’s a bargain compared to the U.S.
The final confrontation was between Germany and Switzerland. Switzerland’s universal system requires that everyone has insurance. It is sometimes compared the Affordable Care Act (ACA), however, it is a better system. Germany’s healthcare costs are determined by an individual’s income. Patients have many choices when it comes to doctors or hospitals. However, cost sharing is very low. It is lower for those who are low-income, and it is not available for services for children.