Healthcare Debate

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American Government
National Healthcare Debate

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.” J P. O’Rourke

The debate over whether or not healthcare should be nationalized has been going on for quite some time with relatively no progress being made. The ultimate question in the debate being if it works for other developed countries, will it work for the United States? The assumption made by many people when asking this question is that healthcare in these countries is wonderful and citizens are benefitting greatly from having it. This however is not exactly true. For example, did you know that among US women age 40 to 64, 87% of those with insurance had a mammogram within 5 years, compared to 65% of those without insurance? The rate for Canadian women is 65% – the same as for uninsured women in the US. Canadian women also have the same rate of screening for cervical cancer as uninsured US women (80%), over five years. Among insured US women, the rate is 92%.Among uninsured US men, 31% were screened for prostate cancer, compared with 16% in Canada. For insured US men, the rate is 52%. These numbers are because it is extremely more difficult for a Canadian citizen to see a doctor than it is for an American citizen. There are people like Ezra Klein that believe these assumptions and those like John C. Goodman that believe coverage in other countries withstand objective analysis. An example of government sponsored insurance in the United States is the Denti-cal system in California. In California, low income families and individuals qualify for free government sponsored dental care because they are unable to afford insurance. The Government reimburses the dentist or specialist at about 33% of the normal going rate per procedure. Due to this very low payment level most dentists in California do not accept Denti-cal. Those that do know that to make enough money to keep their practice afloat they must see about 4 times as many patients as those dentists who do not accept Denti-cal. This means less time with their doctor, longer waits for an appointment and longer waits in the waiting room, Cheaper materials used in their mouth, and an overall worse experience. The government decides what care can be delivered. Normally when you go to the doctor they will discuss your condition and will recommend the ideal and best treatment for you. This is not the case when the Government is making the decisions. Denti-cal does not pay for crowns (caps) on your back chewing teeth, if a patient needs a crown to save a back tooth they are out of luck. Denti-cal will pay for them to get it taken out though because the cost of pulling a tooth is much cheaper. Another example is the need for a partial denture. If a patient is missing a few teeth on the top or bottom of their mouth a normal course of treatment would be to get a partial denture to replace their missing teeth. Unfortunately for these patients Denti-cal does not cover partial dentures. They do cover full dentures which do not function as well. This leaves the doctor and the patient in a very difficult situation. Do you pull out all of the rest of the teeth (which are perfectly fine) so that the patient is able to eat or do you leave the patient in the current unhealthy situation? Either way, the patient’s health is severely compromised. Government run health insurance is tied to the budget. When the government is in charge of your insurance the insurance is tied to the budget. Just last year in California there was a budget problem and the proposal was floated to cut the Denti-cal program. It was later agreed to cut the Denti-cal budget by 10%. This further decreased doctors’ ability to provide competent and useful health care for their patients. Look at the current national budget. Do you really want your health insurance tied to a budget that is already over 10 trillion dollars in debt? We also must remember there is no such...
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