Do we value our citizens’ well-being, and does our healthcare system reflect that?
[one_third]Liberal – Nicole Cheney
When a country values profit over people, the results are obvious: a young man dies from rationing insulin that was too expensive to purchase out of pocket without insurance, parents forego chemotherapy in the interest of putting food on the table for their children, and healthcare is considered not a human right, but a privilege granted only to those who are worthy of it. The existence of private health insurance is inherently evil. A wealthy person should have no greater right to life than a poor person. Yet, in the United States, that is the paradigm we face.
Considering the fundamental rights on which America was established – life, liberty, and the pursuit of property – the first is uncertain in a system without universal healthcare. Single-payer public healthcare lowers medical spending across the board by granting access to preventative measures before more severe health problems arise and by disallowing for-profit private insurance companies from spiking prices of ordinary items and routine services. We all already subsidize each other’s medical bills through GoFundMe; why not just make healthcare taxpayer-funded and guaranteed?
[one_third]Independent– Sreya Sanyal
As a system that cheats both providers and patients, for the profit of hospitals and insurance companies, the American healthcare system seems perpetually stuck between the actualization of the philosophies of public good and individual freedom. Our hybrid system of healthcare currently limits care to those who need it, while constantly taxing the public safety nets of Medicare and Medicaid. The alternatives lie in several avenues: either America can socialize healthcare into a single-payer system, purge the ranks of Medicare and Medicaid to cut costs and continue with the same strategy, or America can plug the various wounds where funds bleed out to anyone but sick patients.
Personally, I feel that America should stick with this third option. Healthcare in the USA under a single-payer system would be a nightmare; according to the Fraser Institute, the wait time in Canada between seeing a general practitioner and receipt of specialized treatment is 21.2 weeks whereas in America, patients can get the referral fulfilled within the same week.
Healthcare is treated more like a business than a human right here in America, as hospitals make huge sums of money and therefore wield more power than patients or doctors, both of whom are mistreated in the hospital oligarchies. If health insurance were to be treated like car insurance, a solution may be found. If insurance were truly mandated, if premiums were lowered, if hospitals stopped price gouging the consumer, if and only if a thousand more variables, healthcare could be accessible for all Americans, not just for the rich and healthy.
[one_third]Conservative – Beshoy Shokralla
Does the US address healthcare correctly? I would lean towards no, we do not.
This is primarily because our system feels like a hybrid; we have some government programs that guarantee healthcare to a group of people, and some people shopping for health insurance in the private sector. This hybrid system creates multiple problems. Personally, I don’t think the United States is ready for a fully integrated, universal healthcare system. The next best thing, then, is to keep government directly out of healthcare.
Allowing the United States government to oversee the provision of all healthcare would be the definition of intrusion. Do we really trust the same government that spies on its citizens through secret programs (thank you Snowden, kind of) to not take advantage of their access to our medical records? We want the same people who imprisoned Japanese Americans during World War II to be everyone’s only access to medicine? At least with Medicare and Medicaid, people still retain an option that isn’t the government.
Personally, I think a carefully regulated healthcare system would be the best kind. Carefully calibrating laws to allow health insurances to compete while ensuring prices do go down (and prosecuting any illegal monopolies or conspiracies to keep prices the same). I think having a well-regulated but competitive market would provide people with the best prices and the best service.