10 March 2010
Universal Health Care in the United States
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep. His cupidity may at some time point be satisfied; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” –C.S. Lewis (1898 – 1963)
The issue of universal health care taking over the present health care system has become a heated topic all over America. With President Obama’s promise to pass a bill that will give government coverage to all Americans, most people were happy that health care would become more affordable for them. But is this the case? There has been a stiff opposition to the passing of any bill of this kind throughout the entire process, but the longer a bill stays in circulation the more time people have to form an opinion on the issue. With the law in effect now the issue now turns to if this will be better off for America in the long run, and if there is any good to such a system.
History has a lot to say about socialized medicine. There have been many countries, not only socialistic countries which have used a public method of offering medicine. A few of these countries are Great Britain, Canada, France, Australia, and also the European system. These systems will be analyzed from their roots up in order to see whether they were successes or failures. The National Health Service (NHS) of Great Britain, which was created on July 5, 1948, is the world’s largest publicly funded health service ever. As can be seen on the diagram, the NHS is divided into two sections: primary and secondary care. Primary care is the first point of contact for most people and is delivered by a wide range of independent service providers, including general practitioners, dentists, pharmacists and optometrists. Secondary care is known as acute healthcare and can be either elective care or emergency care. Elective care means planned specialist medical care or surgery, usually following referral from a primary or community health professional such as a general practitioner. In this system there are a lot of different trusts (refer to diagram). These trusts are where the money is sent for certain types of care. The main trusts are the Primary care trusts. Primary care trusts (PCTs) are in charge of primary care and have a major role around commissioning secondary care, providing community care services. They are the main core to the NHS and control 80% of the NHS budget. As they are local organizations, they understand what members of their community need, so they can make sure that the organizations providing health and social care services are working effectively for that community. Primary care is the care provided by people you normally see when you first have a health problem. It might be such a simple thing as a visit to a doctor or a dentist, an optician for an eye test or even a trip to a pharmacist to purchase medicine. The NHS was founded on a principle that all people, regardless of money, would be able to receive quality health insurance. It still holds to this as its main principle today. With the exception of charges for some prescriptions and optical and dental services, the NHS remains free for the use of anyone who is resident in Great Britain, which is about 60 million people. It covers everything from preventive medicine and routine treatments for coughs and colds to open heart surgery, accident and emergency treatment and end-of-life care. All this is funded by taxation. When it first began in 1948 the projected budget was around $632 million dollars (roughly $13 billion today). That number was undershot, and another $75 million was needed to balance that budget. Over...