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Universal Health Care Coverage for the United States
The United States is the only modernized Western nation that does not offer publicly funded health care to all its citizens; the costs of health care for the uninsured in the United States are prohibitive, and insurance companies are often more interested in profit margins than providing health care. These conditions are incompatible with U.S. ideals and standards. Universal health care coverage is a better system for all citizens because it is more cost-effective and upholds the value of human life. (Note: The thesis evaluates universal healthcare based on two specific criteria.)
One of the most common arguments against providing universal health care coverage (UHC) is that it will cost too much money, but in fact, UHC is a cheaper option than private insurance if one considers all costs. (Note: This body paragraph addresses the criteria of cost by answering the question, "How cheap is universal healthcare?" The author summarizes a counterargument about cost and then refutes it.) While providing health care for all U.S. citizens would cost a lot of money for every tax-paying citizen, citizens need to examine exactly how much money it would cost, and more importantly, how much money is too much when it comes to opening up health care for all. Those who have health insurance already pay a considerable amount of money, and those without coverage are charged unfathomable amounts. The cost of publicly funded health care versus the cost of current insurance premiums is unclear. In fact, some Americans, especially those in lower income brackets, could stand to pay less than their current premiums.
Under the current system, even patients with coverage must pay for some treatments out of pocket. (Note: This paragraph continues the discussion of cost, introducing a particular case in which the current system means high costs for patients.)Each day an American acquires a form of cancer, and the only effective treatment might be considered experimental by an insurance company and thus is not covered. The costs may be so prohibitive that the patient will either opt for a less effective, but covered, treatment; opt for no treatment at all; or attempt to pay the costs of treatment and experience unimaginable financial consequences. Medical bills in these cases can easily rise into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is enough to force even wealthy families out of their homes and into perpetual debt. Even though each American could someday face this unfortunate situation, many still choose to take the financial risk. Instead of gambling with health and financial welfare, U.S. citizens should press their representatives to set up UHC, where their coverage will be guaranteed and affordable.
A common argument against UHC in the United States is that other comparable national health care systems, like that of England, France, or Canada do not deliver timely patient care. (Note: Introduces a counterargument.) UHC opponents claim that sick patients in these countries often wait in long lines or long wait lists for basic health care. A fair amount of truth lies in these claims, but Americans must remember to put those problems in context with the problems of the current U.S. system as well. (Note: The author admits seeing some merit in the counterargument before they go on to offer a rebuttal.)It is true that people often wait to see a doctor in countries with UHC, but we in the United States wait as well, and we often schedule appointments weeks in advance, only to have onerous waits in the doctor’s waiting rooms.
Even if UHC would cost Americans a bit more money each year, we ought to reflect on what type of country we would like to live in, and what types of morals we represent if we are more willing to deny health care to others on the basis of saving a few hundred dollars per year. (Note: This paragraph focuses on the criteria of values.)In a system that privileges capitalism and rugged individualism, little room remains for compassion and love. It is time that Americans realize the amorality of U.S. hospitals forced to turn away the sick and poor. UHC is a health care system that aligns more closely with the core values that so many Americans espouse and respect, and it is time to realize its potential.
Despite the opponents’ claims against UHC, a universal system will save lives and encourage the health of all Americans. It is time for Americans to start thinking socially about health in the same ways they think about education and police services: as a right of U.S. citizens.
Adapted from an essay included in Writing for Success, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License. Annotations by Natalie Peterkin, licensed CC BY-NC.