Should health care be made free for all?
Should health care be made free for all? This is the question many people ask themselves when they find out their bills are getting out of control. The health care system in our country is not perfect, but neither is it totally dysfunctional. It is, however, a cause of much angst and anger among those who have to pay for it and those who benefit from it.
For starters, some people don’t realize that they are paying for health care benefits they may never use. Those who get their benefits through their employer and their dependents pay an affordable monthly fee for health insurance. Those who do not receive any type of assistance because they are poor or disabled are stuck paying the full freight for their coverage. These people also happen to be the most often targeted for abuse by those who are in the medical business. They are denied adequate treatment and often forced to file grievances and other litigation just to get the coverage they deserve.
Is it too much to make it possible for everyone to receive these benefits? Not at all! In fact, the more we work to ensure that people who are most in need are able to get the health care that they need, the better off we will be as a nation. After all, who wants to accept a life sentence, regardless of what the reasons are why?
Those who can afford health care are able to receive it, but there are billions of people who cannot. For that reason, every country has the right to regulate its health care markets in order to ensure that those who cannot afford the insurance are properly and adequately provided for. There are several ways to do this, such as rationing care, where a certain percentage of the money spent on health care is set aside for extremely poor people. Or, if they qualify for some type of government assistance, such as Medicaid. Finally, there are insurance companies who make up for the rest of the difference by charging higher rates to those with higher incomes.
Those who cannot afford health care are obviously not going to pay for it out of their own pocket. In an ideal world, they would pay for it out of their taxes. Unfortunately, no politician is interested in providing extra cash for the poor any more than they are interested in raising taxes for the wealthy. Fortunately, however, the rich are beginning to feel the pinch. And the poor are feeling the pinch. It’s not just the rich who are feeling the pinch, either.
The result is that we are seeing growing calls for more government assistance to assure that health care is available to those who need it. The obvious place to start is to cover those whose health care insurance has been canceled because of a failure to pay the bills. The logical next step is to extend those policies to those who have been denied coverage altogether. And to those who have been forced into a situation where they have to choose between health care and starvation.
Some people are calling for a single-payer system in which the government provides all the medical care and then pays the medical suppliers through the tax system. That idea, though, is probably the most radical of all the solutions to the problems facing the poor and the middle class. Other folks are suggesting a hybrid system in which the poor people buy into a managed care plan, much like a health maintenance organization. Those folks would probably end up with better health care coverage, but they would have to pay more.
So should health care be made free for all? Not immediately, no. But it should become a more realistic option for those whose incomes are falling, but who don’t have any serious health problems. In the end, though, it’s usually a better bargain than whatever else poor people have to choose between.