Health care in the United States, based on news media reports, makes up nearly one-fifth of our nation’s Gross National Product. This huge cost has been paid for by employers who contribute toward health insurance costs, and those of us who pay insurance premiums that keep rising every year. These costs, however, don’t translate into improved health care.
According to the World Health Organization, The United States health care system is ranked thirty-seventh in the world, although it is first in health care spending per capita. The explanation lies in the fact that our system is run by private and public firms that are run for-profit. This is clearly evident in Michael Moore’s film “Sicko”, which paints an unflattering portrait of the quality of health care in the United States. For example, Moore presented in “Sicko” the priority placed on an HMO’s bottom line over the medical needs of its subscribers. Many believe the health care system can be run as any other business, but HMOs have little incentive to maximize the quality of the services they provide.
Health insurance has become unaffordable for many working Americans. Many employers have been shifting more of the premium costs onto their employees. This just occurred during the labor negotiations with the Big Three automakers. Those with pre-existing medical conditions have even fewer insurance options. As a result, nearly fifty million Americans lack health insurance.
Our only choice is to have government-run health care. The response of the naysayers is that government-backed heath care is socialized medicine; a step in the path toward communism.
Health care is a right, not a privilege! The added taxes required to support this system would still be lower than the insurance premiums most of us pay. Doctors can be given the freedom to practice medicine without oversight by some bureaucrat. There would be a greater incentive to practice preventative health care, as in offering smoking cessation programs, and dietary management. Doctors would not have to deal with the expense of hiring staff to do billing. Pharmaceutical companies would have to competitively bid for government contracts to provide medications.
Government-operated health care seems to work in many the thirty-six countries ranked above the U.S. system. We should implement it here as soon as possible, in order to cover millions of Americans who struggle to pay for health insurance premiums, as well as the millions of others who lack health insurance altogether.