In the world’s wealthiest nation, healthcare should be a right.
It’s no news that the US healthcare system is in trouble. In a comparative study of health and education systems around the world the US dropped from 6th place in 1990 to 27th place in 2016. Not only is our system providing less than stellar healthcare it is also one of the most expensive systems. In 2017, the average worker paid $6,400 out of pocket for their healthcare, and the US spent $10,209 on healthcare per person, which is equal to 18% of our total economy. This high cost of healthcare is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
In Minnesota we are not escaping from the healthcare crisis. In 2017, Minnesota’s uninsurance rate increased to 6.3 percent and about 349,000 Minnesotans did not have health insurance. I was one of them.
Two healthcare futures
Public Choice proponents believe the healthcare system that exists today can be fixed. In their proposal (Reforming America’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition) they propose the following:
- Remove “shoppable” products from health insurance. This would include doing away with health insurance paying for preventative care, well child checks and anything that is non-emergency related. This would also affect programs such as Medicare.
- Vigorous anti-trust enforcement that would stop monopolizations in the healthcare field.
- A series of deregulations that range from allowing doctors to practice more easily between states to scrutinizing non-compete clauses.
This system would deregulate healthcare and push it more firmly onto the market, where people would then regularly buy their healthcare products out of pocket and would only carry limited health insurance for emergencies (similar to the automobile insurance industry).
Single Payer proponents believe we can remove the middlemen from the healthcare system by assigning the government the role of insurance provider. Your healthcare would still be provided by your usual healthcare facility and doctor. Only the behind the scenes billing systems would change. You would no longer receive healthcare from your employer, who would be freed from the burden of paying for employee health insurance and could return these dollars to you through increased wages.
Many fear this system will put an undue burden on the US economy, however the current expensive system already places a burden on our economy. We have the wealthiest country in the world, not to mention the most advanced technology. There is simply no reason to throw hundreds of thousands of our citizens into third world living conditions. This is what will happen if healthcare continues to be treated as a commodity that only those with lucrative funds have access to.
Healthcare is a Necessity
Simply put, healthcare is a necessity for everyone. Even if you are young and able-bodied now, someday you will not be. Healthy living into old age shouldn’t just be reserved only for those who have large bank balances into old age. Not to mention, even those who do have money set aside today, can run into unforeseen health issues that quickly deplete their funds, leaving them with no healthcare. This already happens to individuals who are living in nursing care facilities.
We have the wealthiest country in the world, not to mention the most advanced technology. There is simply no reason to throw hundreds of thousands of our citizens into third world living conditions. This is what will happen if healthcare continues to be treated as a commodity that only those with lucrative funds have access to.
We need a healthcare system that works for all citizens, not just some. We need a healthcare system that will provide a safety net for us, even if we run into unexpected events. Life is to precious to waste. This is why I support programs such as expanded MinnesotaCare. Now is the time for us to make healthcare a right. Healthcare such as this works in dozens of other countries, it can work in the world’s most advanced country also!