Single-Payer, Nationalized Health Care & Insurance
No one disagrees that health care reforms in the United States aren't needed to bring costs under control, while still providing maximum coverage for people. Legislators and presidents have spoken for decades of providing such lasting health care reforms, but these calls to action generally became grid-locked in Congress and failed.
However, with the 2008-2009 recession, ongoing concerns over the economy, and the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the debate over nationalized health care now rages quite fiercely.
The current debate is framed in two ways. The first is through the paradigm of rights: Do you have a right to health care? The second is through the efficiency paradigm: How to provide affordable, effective health care?
Is health care a right?
Proponents of nationalizing health care (single-payer) argue that health care is a right. They often point to the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights for support as well as argue that if "life" is a right (Declaration of Independence) then health care must be provided by government to ensure that right to life.
Those who prefer private health care with free-market reforms, however, believe that health care is not a right. In their estimation rights exist with or without the support of others. Generally, these rights are encompassed in the term "natural rights" and include the right to life (ownership of oneself) and property (the fruit of one's labors), both of which can exist with requiring monetary or other support from other individuals. They further argue that if one individual may demand a right such as health care, then someone else must be forced by government to pay for it. They see this act as individuals enslaving other individuals through government force to pay for their "rights."
How to provide affordable, effective health care?
From the efficiency perspective, proponents of a single-payer system believe that it would be more cost effective than the current system. Evidence of the inefficiencies of the current system are found in the numbers of uninsured, rising health care costs, and a wobbly economy. Additionally, proponents will point to single-payer systems' performances in other nation-states. Essentially, the belief is that a health care system funded and controlled by a central government (creating a monopoly on health care) is better.
Those in favor of a private system of health care argue that a government monopoly on health care is not the most efficient system. Instead, they point to the successes of the private sector in providing for consumers when competition and freedom are embraced. While "socializing" health care may grant larger coverage, they argue it will dilute the quality of health care provided, promote rationing, and ultimately prove fiscally unsustainable at a time when the national debt is soaring.
Additionally, free marketers and others argue that the reason for rapidly rising health care costs is a result of the third-party payer system put in place by government tax codes and regulations. In this system, few consumers of health care (patients) are directly responsible for paying the bill, and therefore there is little incentive to drive costs down. Universal health care can only drive costs down by regulating prices or rationing since the consumer (patient) isn't responsible for the costs of care. Solutions to the third-party payer problem can be achieved (without nationalizing health care or taking on more debt) by reforming the tax code, changing interstate insurance rules, and modifying other issues stemming from government regulations.
Whatever reform looks like, it will affect your future significantly, now is the time to learn what the experts and pundits are saying about nationalizing health care.
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