Sunday, February 24, 2008

Universal healthcare

Because of the presidential race for the White House 2008, the idea of universal healthcare is at the forefront of many people's minds (it is also the only thing Hillary Clinton really ever talks about). Pretty much every industrialized nation offers a universal healthcare plan except the U.S.
Small businesses can benefit from a universal healthcare plan. Big companies can offer employees better coverage with more benefits, and thus have the advantage in the hiring market. With universal healthcare, however, a single government body provides coverage for basic needs. This means more small businesses will be able to be established which creates jobs.
Many people do not go to the doctor's office for routine check-ups simply because it costs too much. This makes early detection of chronic illnesses impossible. Paying for treatment of a long-term illness is much more expensive than paying for preventative treatment in most cases. Offering universal healthcare means more long-term illnesses can be caught early.
People will be able to put more money into markets, stimulating the economy. If bombarded by healthcare bills, consumers are not spending money in the market. With universal healthcare, medical bills will not force people in to bankruptcy, and consumer spending will increase, stimulating our dying economy.
Parents who cannot afford coverage for their children will now be nonexistent. Children will be born covered, creating a brighter and healthier generation of future workers!

Why do you think the U.S. hasn't employed universal healthcare already?


savannahc said...

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES. if that alone would give me my points for the week, I'd leave it at that.

To be honest, until now I hadn't looked at most of the economic aspects of of universal healthcare, but you've convinced me that they would be quite beneficial to our economy. Like you said about routine check ups, we could help stop diseases from spreading or worsening which would not only allow people to put more money into the economy, but company's that give out treatments to these serious diseases would be able to dedicate more time and money into finding better cures for these diseases.


Vicky said...

People haven't looked into it because they're afraid that the government will take too much control over it and dictate when you go to the doctor and what medical treatment you will receive. Universal health care will also raise taxes because we have to pay for it somehow. It's not as perfect as it sounds.

belzmat said...

Yes I agree to an extent. Universal heathcare sounds great in a perfect world, however nothing is free and that money to treat a cancer patient is coming out of your pocket. Most people who are generous and caring are willing to help in that regard however many people have nothing to gain from universal heathcare in their eyes. As great as universal heathcare is there are flaws, because oftentimes the quality of the heathcare will go down, such as in Canada.

KM said...

I'm tempted to wait and see if others answer you still tonight, but it's almost time for me to go to sleep. :)

The people of the US are deathly afraid (? not really the word choice I want, but there it is) of tax increases. Yes, most industrialized countries around the world have universal health care provided by the gov. Most industrialized countries also have socialist economies (mixed between command and market, leaning to command).

I used to have marvelous discussions with Pierre Bourgeious - do any of you remember him? He was an exchange student from Belgium a few years ago. He thought it was horrendous that we don't have more public transportation, free healthcare, and free college educations. He (jokingly) called us barbarians. But the truth is - when he graduates and gets a job, the gov of Belgium will take somewhere from 60-75% of his paycheck to cover those things.


People in the US aren't so open to that. Obama and Clinton both mention universal health care without telling where the money will come from - because it HAS to mean increasing taxes, and of course, that's a kiss of death for a politician.

Would you be happy giving up 50% of your wages to cover this? I'm not so sure...

In addition, check out what happened in Canada ( as Matt mentioned) - there are many Canadians who will pay out of pocket and come to the US for healthcare because of the waiting lists and poor quality of medicine in Canada.

Is there a difference between how people act in college if they're paying on their own or if their parents are paying? You might not see that now - tuck it in the back of your brain and think about it next year.

Now, if I take my economists' hat off (tough to do...), do I think it's a good idea? Sure. I think it's abominable that there are people who's entire life could hang in the balance because they can't afford the atrocious cost of healthcare.

Do I think the gov should pay for it? Umm...well...


JoelleBender said...

Why are we scared? Because of the ornery rich folk that don't want to put their hard-earned (or inherited, which I'm sure is a real difficulty sometimes) money into helping people they will never meet. With the current system, those with the money are able to take care of themselves, so why worry about others? Make more money if you're going to be sick. (totally not my opinion, I think you know that, though) Also, people freak out about it because it will significantly raise taxes, so people who already pay a nice chunk of change to the government will have to pay more, which scares those with a lot of money and also those without because it's less for them to live on.


magila said...

I support the idea of universal healthcare, but the tax thing really makes it hard to be. Because my mom works for the state, I personally have an excellent healthcare plan right now, and that makes it hard for me to see other peoples perspectives on the topic. I'm so fortunate that I can visit the doctor for little to no cost, and I can't imagine having that taken away. The fact that half of my paycheck could be taken away is hard to face, but the way people could be helped by universal health care makes me a strong advocate for it.

Brent said...

Universal Healthcare would be more beneficial for everyone in the long run. Economically they would have a portion of their paycheck gone (not 60-75% like KM said, that accounts for all of the other government goods provided in Belgium) but they would save about ten to sixty thousand dollars on heart surgery by seeing a doctor earlier in life and preventing it. Also, getting political here, the only real reason we haven't implemented this is because of the rich in our society. As Joelle said, they don't want to be "giving" to others that they won't see, and they also always find ways to evade taxes which lowers our governments ability to do its job. If we can stop the lobbying of the corporations, and proportionally tax people for this and everything else, based upon their incoming salary or paychecks, then the poor who would be most severely affected by a tax increase would be minimally affected by it but would greatly benefit from universal healthcare.

taylork said...

I think that the u.s. hasn't adapted universal healthcare because it's so difficult to change from something everyone is so used to. Universal healthcare may seem like the best thing to do, but like matt said, it's not free. We still have to pay for it somehow, and this will directly affect people that make the big bucks, such as doctors. It's going to be extremely difficult to put universal healthcare into effect, because that will cause an increase in taxes, which is something no one wants to hear about.

caitlin said...

I agree that universal healthcare will be great, but how are Americans going to feel when they only recieve a paycheck only half of what they get now and still working the same hours. I believe people will freak out, and then there will be chaos. Though, if the Americans are willing to take the cut in their pay check then try it, but I doubt everyone will be. Some are going to argue that they are perfectly healthy and do not need to be paying all this money out, because they are not using it. Catching diseases early is a benefit, but I doubt many Americans will go for, with a factor of greed.

KM said...

Great discussion, you guys!

It would take a huge shift in the attitude of most Americans to do something like this.

And...would you be happy if you were perfeclty healthy and your tax dollars were being spent serving someone with lung cancer because they smoked for 50 years? Hmm...


Just me being difficult again.