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Should healthcare be free?
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Free healthcare has proven to work in many countries

Most developed countries provide free healthcare to their citizens. Free healthcare has been proven to work based on several metrics such as treatment costs, average hospital stay, and readmission rates.
Healthcare

The Argument

Free, universal healthcare is a foreign concept to Americans, many of whom struggle with the costs of basic healthcare needs. For many conditions, such as diabetes, a person's very survival depends on medications that cost hundreds of dollars; whereas countries such as Germany, such prescriptions are extremely cheap ($10 - $11), or completely free.[1] According to Olga Khazan, staff writer at The Atlantic, "the United States fared especially badly on measures of affordability, access, health outcomes, and equality between the rich and poor." The absence of a universal healthcare system contributes to the bad overall health of Americans, with lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality rates, especially among the poor. There is a huge discrepancy between access to proper healthcare between the rich and the poor in the United States.[2] Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, and many other wealthy nations all outperform American healthcare by having their citizens pay into a pool. In Germany for example, workers and employers each pay 7.5% into a public healthcare pool. The people who can afford healthcare pay what they need to (which still isn't very high, especially compared to U.S. healthcare costs[3]), and those who can't have their costs covered.[1] The average cost of healthcare in other developed countries is about half of the cost of the United States.[3] This is because the U.S. healthcare system is tied up in capitalism, where healthcare is a commodity and not a basic human right. While it would be a messy endeavor to uproot the current system and replace it with a more humane, universal healthcare system, it would be to the benefit of every U.S. citizen to have their basic medical needs met without the fear of going bankrupt just to survive.

Counter arguments

It is inaccurate to say that American healthcare is inferior quality to that of other countries. In fact, some of the best hospitals in the world are in the United States, and many foreigners travel to the U.S. to receive medical care.[4] The absence of a free, universal healthcare system does not affect the quality of healthcare, just the accessibility. A universal healthcare system would simply not work in America. Contrary to popular belief, healthcare costs would not go down; they would, instead, rise.[5] America wouldn't simply adopt another country's healthcare system[6]; it would have to modify the system that currently exists. Transforming the current system would result in an increase in taxes, nullifying the "free healthcare" idea because people would be paying into a universal healthcare pool regardless. Healthy individuals who rarely need to go to the doctor would be paying for healthcare they don't use. Free, universal healthcare may work in other countries. But it wouldn't work here, and it isn't necessary.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] American healthcare is poor compared to most developed countries. [P2] The United States would benefit from following other countries' examples, and implementing a free, universal healthcare system.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] American healthcare is higher quality than other developed countries. [P2] Free, universal healthcare would not work in the United States.

References

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/germany-s-health-care-system-model-u-s-n1024491
  2. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/07/us-worst-health-care-commonwealth-2017-report/533634/
  3. https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/how-do-healthcare-prices-and-use-in-the-u-s-compare-to-other-countries/#item-on-average-other-wealthy-countries-spend-half-as-much-per-person-on-healthcare-than-the-u-s
  4. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111728597
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpearl/2017/03/16/why-a-government-run-single-payer-healthcare-approach-is-doomed-to-fail/#2af230b2d810
  6. https://outofyourrut.com/7-reasons-universal-healthcare-wont-work-us/
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 4 Nov 2020 at 17:35 UTC

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