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The Debate Over Free Healthcare Ans Universal Healthcare in America

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The political division in our country is at an all-time high; one of the issues creating the lack of unity is our current healthcare policy. Most conservatives argue that healthcare should not be free for all whereas many Democrats argue the complete opposite, universal healthcare. Universal (government funded, free) healthcare means that all people have access to the health services they need without the risk of financial hardship when paying for them. The catch here is that it is free at the expense of taxpayer dollars. Of course, healthcare is a valuable service but not at the expense of working and upper class citizens. A government funded health care system cannot provide what it promises and should not be implemented. Free healthcare is not a human right, it would cause the delivery of subpar care to patients and it would increase taxes along with our country’s national debt.

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Firstly, free healthcare is not stated anywhere in the Declaration of Independence and is therefore not a human right in the United States. This argument centers around the few words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, stated in our Declaration of Independence. Nowhere in the document is healthcare even addressed. In 2018, The Odyssey published an article stating some of the problems our country faces arguing about free healthcare, “the biggest being that healthcare is, in fact, not a right. It’s a commodity. You have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You do not have a right to a service provided by and paid for by other people.” Some Americans choose to infer that “life”, one of the three rights of American citizens, means the government should provide healthcare at no cost. This, though, is not the case as the government provides the people “life” by giving them the opportunity to choose which plan fits them best. As stated in a Forbes article in 2016, “the government should protect customers’ freedom to purchase (and insurers’ freedom to offer) insurance plans mutually agreeable to both parties.” Instead of getting one plan handed to all of the American people, every citizen has the freedom to prioritize their needs and pick from the wide variety of plans based on their personal preference. Although it is not free, every American has access to healthcare which is crucial. “Everyone can agree that health care is a necessity of life. So are food, shelter, and clothing. Yet no one is demanding universal ‘food care’ or universal government housing. The critical issue is that people expect access to food, shelter, and clothing,” as stated in an article published by the Washington Times in 2017. The Declaration of Independence is what our country was built upon and free healthcare is not stated as a right.

In addition to government funded healthcare not being a human right, another major consequence of this system is that the services offered are not guaranteed. Some Americans believe that free healthcare means they will have medical assistance always at their convenience but The Washington Times states, this “does not guarantee timely access to actual medical care” (2017). When healthcare is free, our country has to divide and ration the services available. “These rations include service restrictions and controlled distribution. This means people could be waiting months to get treatment just to be turned away,” as stated by The Odyssey (2018). Implementing universal healthcare sounds financially beneficial but in the end ends up providing the people with subpar attention and assistance. There have been many studies done on other country’s free healthcare systems and it is proven that our country provides care at a faster rate. The Odyssey continues to state that “fewer than 10% of patients in the US wait longer than two months to see a specialist versus 41% in Canada and over 28% in other European countries.” Our economy runs on supply and demand and “when the supply can’t meet the demand, the system fails.” In addition “In 2017, Canadians were on waiting lists for an estimated 1,040,791 total procedures,” according to an article published on the Heritage in 2018. Poor quality assistance is not just demonstrated by long waiting periods though, it goes as far as cancelations of major surgeries and appointments. According to the Heritage, cancelations are actually common. “The National Health Service canceled 84,827 elective operations in England for nonclinical reasons on the day the patient was due to arrive.” These countries allow their people to wait long months for urgent medical attention only to cancel it last minute. This is all to blame on the implementation of universal healthcare.

Furthermore, if the United States implemented universal health care there would be an increase in taxes and an increase in national debt as a whole. According to the Center for Disease Control in 2015, “US healthcare costs reached $3.2 trillion.” They continue to state that if we implement universal health care that would add $2 trillion to the government’s expenditures. Currently the United States has government funded healthcare options: Medicare and Medicaid. “Medicare is already costing the country $675 billion on an annual basis. Medicaid is costing $574.2 billion per year.” If our federal government had to cover all $3.2 Trillion of the US healthcare system, they would “need to raise an additional $2 trillion to cover those costs.” This would lead to a major increase in taxes for working class families. In 2018, the Odyssey stated that “the tax rates of countries with free healthcare average payroll tax is 37% more than twice what the average American worker pays.” This statistic is just showing how implementing this system would affect the salary of workers in the United States. When taking into consideration every aspect of life, a fully funded health care program “would cost more for 71 percent of the nation’s working families, including low-income families,” according to a Heritage article from 2018. The American people already have issues with how their high taxes are and how low minimum wage is; this system would only increase the taxes and add to the problem. This discussion is evident in our current political campaigns for our 2020 presidential election. Specifically, senator Bernie Sanders is known for his slogan, “Medicare for all.” According to an article posted in 2018 by Politics Central, this proposal “could cost $32.6 trillion over the next decade, single-handedly boosting the nation’s federal debt by 55 percent.” Our country’s national debt is constantly going up and putting into action a free healthcare system would only increase that number exponentially in addition to increasing taxes on all citizens.

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A free healthcare system would not live up to the expectations of American citizens and should not be implemented in the United States. According to the Declaration of Independence universal healthcare is not a human right, the services provided are not guaranteed and it would impose an increase in taxes and an increase in national debt. There are many studies done on other countries free healthcare systems and it is proven that the United States has lower taxes and provides more reliable services. The people in our country get to decide which provider works best for their needs and finances. Having that freedom is superior because in the end free healthcare is not at all free. Working class citizens subsequently have higher taxes which are used for funding the system. The health care system the United States has in place has worked for many years and altering it would only lead to more problems throughout the country.

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