Government Healthcare Debate

Topics: United States, Healthcare reform, Public health Pages: 5 (1836 words) Published: January 19, 2012
Should the government provide health care? In most developed economies health care is one of the two largest government expenditures. However, there has been a huge debate over the decision to provide health care to who cannot afford to provide it for themselves. Even though many believe that the government should not be responsible for providing health care, there are many sick uninsured people who would disagree. People without health care should not be discriminated against for getting sick it should be their civil right to have access to decent health care provided by the government. Access to health care should be a civil right in the United States because the preamble of the United States Constitution includes the terms “to promote the general welfare,” which should be interpreted as help for people in need. Furthermore, Americans have a moral responsibility to help vulnerable communities and that means providing health care. For example, providing universal health care will promote preventative care, which will help stop the spreading of epidemics. In addition, providing universal health care is a responsible measure that will ensure the safety and preserve the lives of Americans. One should ask; Are the lives of the fortunate more important than the lives of the less fortunate? Healthcare is a human right according to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, n.d.). Health care costs are unaffordable and bankrupting Americans. For example, “in 2007, 62.1% of all US bankruptcies were related to medical expenses and 78% of these bankruptcies were filed by people who had medical insurance” (Himmelstein, Thorne, Warren, & Woolhandler, 2009, p. 1). Moreover, this statistic does not include many unfortunate Americans who are not able to afford health insurance. For example, “46.6 million Americans, (15.9 percent of Americans -- about twice the population of Texas) were uninsured in 2005” (U. S. Census, 2006, p. 1). In addition, “the cost of bad health and shorter life spans of Americans suffering from no insurance amounts to $65-130 billion annually” (Board on Health Care Services, 2003, p. 1). Furthermore, providing government health care will contribute to economic productivity because when people have access to health care, they live longer healthier lives allowing them to contribute to society for a longer period. The United States should learn from other countries that provide citizens health care. For example, “The United States is one of the few, if not the only, developed nation in the world that does not guarantee health coverage for its citizens” (Columbo, & Tapay, 2004, p. 1). In addition, The United States ranked amid the bottom of industrialized countries on healthy life expectancy at age 60, falling short of rates reached by Japan, and France. Furthermore, of 23 industrialized countries the United States had the highest infant mortality rates. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, this rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health of a country (Central Intelligence Agency, 2011). Moreover, the infant mortality rates in The United States were similar to those of Poland and Hungary (OECD, Commonwealth Fund Scorecard, 2006). To illustrate, the current 2011 infant mortality rate comparison see figure 1.

Figure 1
Infant Mortality rate comparison by country
“This entry gives the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year; included is the total death rate, and deaths by sex, male and female. This...
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