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Should healthcare be free?
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Free healthcare saves lives

A nation should take actions that save the most lives and protect the most people. Free healthcare saves lives and protects people.
Healthcare

Context

A government has the responsibility to keep people safe. Providing healthcare free of charge saves people’s lives. Therefore, the government has the responsibility to provide free healthcare.

The Argument

A lack of access to affordable healthcare or health insurance contributes to around 45,000 deaths per year according to researchers from Harvard University. The 55-64 age bracket alone contributes around 13,000 of these deaths.[1] This is why the U.S. has some of the highest death rates for preventable health issues. When people cannot afford to pay for healthcare, they do not go to the doctors or the hospital. This leads to diseases going undiagnosed or being diagnosed too late, reducing the chance of recovery. Governments have a duty to protect their people. A free healthcare system would help diagnose diseases earlier and save more lives.

Counter arguments

Healthcare is not a right; it is a business. People sell things such as food, clothing, and shelter, which are considered as basic human needs. There is no government-funded program which gives universal free access to these things, so why should healthcare be any different?[2] Free healthcare doesn't necessarily save lives. Just because healthcare is free, doesn't mean that everyone gets timely access to it.[3] Canada has a universal free healthcare system, but their patients wait so long for treatment that people can die before receiving the life-saving care they need.[4] Giving everyone access to free healthcare would simply make it so that more people are able to wait in line for healthcare; which means longer waiting times. The government shouldn't enforce such a policy that could potentially cost someone their lives, who would otherwise have been able to pay for quick treatment. The statistics are also skewed when it comes to how many uninsured people die versus people who are insured. According to Science Daily, "After adjusting figures to account for factors such as income and “health status,” Kronick found that having insurance made little or no difference to the overall mortality rate for people ages 18 to 64. He estimates that no more than 9,000 people die each year who would otherwise survive if they had health insurance."[5]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Governments have the duty to protect their citizens. [P2] Free healthcare saves lives. [P3] Governments should provide free healthcare.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Healthcare is not a right. [Rejecting P2] Free healthcare doesn't necessarily save lives. [Rejecting P3] The government doesn't provide universal free access to other basic human needs such as food, shelter, and clothing, so healthcare shouldn't be any different.

References

  1. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/
  2. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/30/health-care-is-not-a-right/
  3. https://www.heritage.org/health-care-reform/commentary/government-controlled-health-care-wont-help-us-live-longer
  4. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/12/10/1958372/0/en/Canada-s-health-care-wait-times-eclipsed-20-weeks-in-2019-second-longest-wait-ever-recorded.html
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423105647.htm
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 4 Nov 2020 at 17:29 UTC

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