What our country needs is universal healthcare. As a developed nation, we should be striving to better provide for our people, and we are falling behind. Canada, Australia, Japan and most European countries have either a single-payer or two-tier system.
In a single-payer system, the government provides insurance for all citizens (in some instances, all legal residents) with the exception of co-pays. In a two-tier system, the government provides basic health insurance for all citizens or legal residents and offers the option of purchasing additional private coverage.
I believe our country needs single-payer healthcare. With the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, many low income families and individuals were able to get more affordable insurance; however, some people still cannot afford it.
According to CNN, as of 2016, 10.3 percent of those under 65 were uninsured. This is a historic low, which is a good thing. On the contrary, they could be penalized for being uninsured, which isn’t right. Obviously, if you can’t afford health insurance, you can’t afford a fine for not having it, either.
One common reason people are opposed to universal healthcare is because they consider it to be “socialism.” This is due to a lack of understanding. Technically, any program the government provides, such as Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security or food stamps, is considered socialist in nature. Because we are used to these programs, we don’t see them as socialism. Many of these “socialist” programs were created during the Great Depression and helped soften the economic crisis.
According to Bernie Sanders’ website, the U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other developed country, including those that have single-payer healthcare. Our system is overpriced and inefficient. Done right, we could actually save money by creating a universal healthcare system. “Last year,” the website states, “the average working family paid $4,955 in premiums and $1,318 in deductibles to private health insurance companies. Under this plan, a family of four earning $50,000 would pay just $466 per year to the single-payer program, amounting to a savings of over $5,800 for that family each year.”
In addition, universal healthcare is gaining more and more support. On Wednesday, Sept. 13, Sanders introduced a bill regarding universal healthcare with the backing of 16 Democratic senators, including Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom are considering a 2020 presidential run. According to The Washington Post, there is little to no chance of this bill passing with the Republican majority House and Senate, but if progressive Democrats are elected in the 2018 midterm elections, it could become reality.
Not only that, but there are increasingly more bi-partisan attitude changes. Kaiser Health News reports that 57 percent of Americans favor single-payer healthcare. While not everyone may support universal healthcare now, I believe that, once educated on it and shown examples of all the countries it has worked for, they may change their minds.