Have you ever seen the components of a medical bill? The tests, the coverage, the taxes, the room cost, and the extensive care. All these components add up and the final bill piles up to an immense cost. Especially if you don’t have insurance, medical bills can cause huge strain and pressure on your life. With that being said, healthcare shouldn’t affect people like this and should remain a hassle-less basic essential to humans.
Healthcare is one of the biggest conflicts in the US and affects millions of people daily. So many people all over the United States get into needless arguments with insurance companies and suffer somber lives due to healthcare problems. Healthcare should remain a basic human right in the United States, like in so many other developed countries. Not only will having universal healthcare improve people’s lives, but it will also impact the United States GDP and economy in positive ways (Conley, Nicholas, Why the US Should Have Universal Health Care, www.truthout.org). Because of the innumerable suffering individuals, and the overall well-being of people in other countries with universal healthcare, healthcare in the United States should be free, which will also directly grow economic activity.
Affects of Healthcare on Families
Universal healthcare in the United States can unbind the plight of many people, as well as save unnecessary battles with insurance companies. A shocking 33 million Americans live without any healthcare in the United States. That may not seem like a big number, but shockingly that’s 10.1% of the entire American population (Mackay, Taylor, Should the US Have Free Universal Health Care? Pro, www.palomar.edu). To many everyday citizens, healthcare may not seem like a big problem, but for families that don’t healthcare, it’s a matter of life and death. For example, americanbar.org explains a story told by Paul from Vermont about an appalling occurrence in 2014. Paul explains that his wife, Jeanette, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008, and eventually recovered. However, during the winter of 2014 Jeanette came down with a chronic cough. After the PCP was unable to diagnose Jeanette, they went back to the oncologist looking for a second opinion. Unfortunately, Jeanette was later diagnosed with Stage 4 Thyroid Cancer which was spread to all her internal organs. The chemotherapy pills Jeanette needed were expensive, so their insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, needed to find the cheapest seller, turning down payment five times. Alas on the day that Jeanette died, the pills arrived and were thrown on the deck sitting at 20-below-zero temperature (Gerisch, Mary, Health care as a Human Right, www.americanbar.org). Solely because of the lack of universal healthcare, Jeanette wasn’t given the opportunity to consider the potential cancer treatment. Stories like the one of Paul and Jeanette happen every day breaking so many families apart. It is said by a study conducted by Harvard Researchers that 44,789 people die due to the lack of health insurance per year in the United States (Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care, www.procon.org). This is 44,789 families that are torn apart and clumped into adversities every single year. Universal healthcare in the United States can reduce this number and undo the predicaments that occur yearly.
Health Care and the Economy
With healthcare being universal, economic activity and GDP will rise, increasing funds and productiveness. It is said by an Institute of Medicine report that $65-$130 billion dollars is lost annually because of lost productivity, due to poor healthcare for minimum wage workers. Not only would these numbers lower the GDP, but that amount of money could be spent towards many other utilities, like the government debt, funding towards pandemics, or improving the environment. Researchers at the University of Colorado and the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study in 2017, comparing the number of workdays missed for workers with health coverage and workers without health coverage. The results show that workers without health coverage missed 4.7 more workdays than workers with health coverage. That may not seem like a big difference, but thinking about the number of people that don’t have health coverage, that's 155.1 million workdays missed per year solely due to poor healthcare coverage. It is even said by World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, that universal healthcare is the smart move and “helps[s] foster economic growth” (Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care, www.procon.org). If healthcare becomes universal in the United States, so much efficiency and productivity will be restored, causing GDP and funds to increase.
Other Countries and the United States
Many countries with universal healthcare are doing much better than the US in economics, budgeting, and overall well-being. If you look at Australia's economy, which has a universal healthcare system, the Per Capita cost is 4,177 dollars. Similarly, if you look at Canada, which also has a universal healthcare system, the Per Capita cost is 4,506 dollars. In comparison, the United States has a staggering 9,024 dollars Per Capita Cost. Many people might think that if the Per Capita cost for the United States is so high, they must have outstanding health coverage and welfare. Unfortunately that’s not true. If you look at the average life expectancy for Australia and Canada, it’s around 83 years. Contrasting with the life expectancy in the United States, it’s only about 79 years. Even though the United States spends so much more on healthcare per person, their quality of care isn’t better than of Australia and Canada. As you can see, countries with universal healthcare are much more efficient with their spending, and they even take care of patients in a better way. For example, The Los Angeles Times surveyed how many people die per 100,000 people due to healthcare complications in different countries, comparing the results of nations with and without universal healthcare. Australia had about 62 deaths per 100,000 people. On the other hand, the United States had about 112 deaths per 100,000 people (Etehad, Melissa and Kim, Kyle, The U.S. Spends More on Healthcare Than any Other Country-but not with Better Health Outcomes, www.latimes.com). The United States has a staggering 180% more deaths than Australia. Changing to a universal healthcare system is a positive change for the United States that will increase efficiency, budgeting, and care.
In conclusion, there are so many families out there living with the fear and worry of inadequate healthcare coverage. If healthcare becomes universal, the United States would be more efficient, and the unused funds could be used towards things like improving the economy and the infrastructure. Not only will our GDP and productivity rise, but the US economy as a whole will be much more efficient and stronger. Countries like Australia and Canada prove the direct impact of universal healthcare through their continued well-being and rapidly growing economies. Due to the countless suffering individuals in the United States, coupled with the viewpoints gathered from countries such as Australia and Canada, healthcare should be universal in the United States, which will positively impact the economic growth. Universal healthcare in the United States would do nothing more than making the country a better place.
Author: Abhinav Kotapati
Abhinav is a junior at Robbinsville High School. He likes researching and writing about the economy, anatomy, physiology, biology and physics. He also participates in a variety of clubs and extracurriculars including Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Tennis, and Gardening. He hopes to achieve a career in medical research working with patients and doing lab work.
Conley, Nicholas, et al. “Why the US Should Have Universal Health Care.” Truthout, Truthout, 14 Dec. 2016, truthout.org/articles/why-the-us-should-have-universal-healthcare/.
Etehad, Melissa, and Kyle Kim. “The U.S. Spends More on Healthcare than Any Other Country - but Not with Better Health Outcomes.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2017, www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-healthcare-comparison-20170715-htmlstory.html.
Gerisch, Mary. “Health Care As a Human Right.” American Bar Association, www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/the-state-of-healthcare-in-the-united-states/health-care-as-a-human-right/.
Mackay, Taylor. “Should the U.S. Have Free Universal Healthcare? Pro.” The Telescope, 1 Mar. 2018, www.palomar.edu/telescope/2018/02/28/should-the-u-s-have-free-universal-healthcare/.
“Pros & Cons - ProCon.org.” Right to Health Care, 4 May 2020, healthcare.procon.org/.