Composition I COM1101 BLM1
Brown Mackie College
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE REFORM
The United States has a population of approximately 306 million people, of which 45 million are uninsured. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if federal policy is not changed to include Universal Health Care for all Americans, the number of uninsured will increase to 54 million by 2017. Without major reconstruction of our health care system, the number of people seeking preventive health maintenance will decline and ultimately the cost of health care will continue to grow. Many people are concerned that the additional expense to cover the cost of medical treatment and pharmaceuticals for all Americans will result in higher taxes or put a burden on the already exorbitant debt of the United States. However, in 2007, the United States spent approximately $2.2 Trillion on health care, or $7,439 per person, up from $2.1 Trillion, or $7,026 per person, in 2006, and 2.4 Trillion spent on healthcare in 2008. According to the World Health Center, this is nearly twice the average of other developed nations. We are ranked 39th in efficiency and cost effectiveness. A UHC system would be more cost efficient because it would reduce wasteful inefficiencies such as duplicate paperwork, claim approval, insurance submission, and other miscellaneous costs. Therefore, cost for medical treatment would be reduced. The funds currently being spent on health care could be used to offset the expense of medical treatment. There are those who say that a UHC system would hurt our society’s idea of a free market system, and “socialized” medicine would deter those interested in pursuing careers in the medical field because of a lack of competitiveness and competition. A free market system is an important function in our country. The problem is not the free market; the problem has to do with special interest groups and lobbyist who influence our legislators and the insurance companies who refuse to engage in legitimate, open and free rivalry with their fellow insurers, preferring instead to practice a form of complicity, price-fixing. A UHC plan would control the costs of medical services, as there would be a developed pay scale, which would be based on the medical provider’s level of specialized care.
Many people will argue that innovation and research for possible cures of diseases could be reduced by lack of funding. The cost of medical treatment has increased 87% over the past six years. Over the same time period, insurance administrative overhead has been the fastest growing component of health spending. Under a UHC system the government would be in a better position to regulate costs of medical services and pharmaceuticals. A UHC plan could possibly lead to more innovation depending on how well it is managed. The generated savings through streamlined billing would reduce the need of the middleman and reduce administrative overhead. This would leave more resources for actual medical care, and real medical innovation. Opponents of a Universal Health Care system believe, people would have to wait longer for medical treatment. However, under this system, along with cost effectiveness and efficiency, doctors and their staff could focus on the treatment of patients and better manage their time rather than spending their time on time-consuming paperwork. Under the current health plan, medical institutions are forced to carry bad debts because people who are uninsured, or do not have the funds, leave unpaid balances. In the United States at least half of all bankruptcies are due in part to unpaid medical bills. Under a UHC system all medical treatments will be covered which would result in a reduced number of people filing bankruptcy on medical bills and, in return, that money could be redirected toward coverage. More and more Americans are finding themselves uninsured because of the current