Pro & Con Quotes: Should the U.S. Government Provide Universal Health Care?
Alison P. Galvani and colleagues from the Yale School of Public Health and other universities, stated:
“The COVID-19 outbreak has underscored the societal vulnerabilities that arise from the fragmented healthcare system in the United States. Universal healthcare coverage decoupled from employment and disconnected from profit motivations would have stood the country in better stead against a pandemic. Emergence of virulent pathogens is becoming more frequent, driven by climate change and other global forces. Universal single-payer healthcare is fundamental to pandemic preparedness. We determined that such a system could have saved 211,897 lives in 2020 alone. Strikingly, it would have done so at lower cost than the current healthcare system, saving the US $459 billion in 2020 at a time of economic tumult. To facilitate recovery from the ongoing crisis and bolster pandemic preparedness, as well as safeguard well-being and prosperity more broadly, now is the time to transition to a healthcare system that can better serve the American people.”-
Alison P. Galvani, et al., “Universal Healthcare As Pandemic Preparedness: The Lives and Costs That Could Have Been Saved during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” pnas.org, June 13, 2022
Marc S. Ryan, author of The Healthcare Labyrinth, stated:
“With so much at stake on the healthcare coverage and access front, here is my appeal to Republicans — my own party — to look differently at affordable universal healthcare coverage. There are many great Republican reasons to do so….
If you are wealthy or have good coverage, America is the place to be if you have a health episode. People flock here for the on-demand care, advanced technology, and expertise in our system. But if you are an average American, as the great healthcare economist Uwe Reinhardt titled his seminal healthcare work, you are Priced Out. We spend the most of any developed nation. But, because of high costs, a lack of focus on prevention and wellness, gaps in coverage, and periods of being uninsured, Americans have among the lowest outcomes in the developed world…. The truth is that upfront coverage would help America focus on wellness, prevention, and care management. Care might, in time, move from emergency room and inpatient chaos to relationships with primary care physicians and specialists — where care is relatively cheap and disease and conditions can be caught early.”-
Marc S. Ryan, “A Republican Argument for Affordable Universal Healthcare,” medpagetoday.com, Mar. 13, 2023
Josh Bivens, Director of Research at the Economic Policy Institute, stated:
“A fundamental reform like Medicare for All (M4A) would make coverage universal. Further, by providing a counterweight to (or outright eliminating) the substantial market power that keeps prices high and that is currently wielded by many key players in the health care sector (e.g., insurance companies, drug companies, specialty physicians, and device makers), such a reform could also have great success in containing health care cost growth. This could in turn provide relief from many of the ways that rising health costs squeeze family incomes….
Making health insurance universal and delinked from employment widens the range of economic options for workers and leads to better matches between workers’ skills and interests and their jobs. The boost to small business creation and self-employment would be particularly useful, as the United States is a laggard in both relative to advanced economy peers.”-
Josh Bivens, “Fundamental Health Reform Like ‘Medicare for All’ Would Help the Labor Market,” epi.org, Mar. 5, 2020
Jeremy C. Kourvelas, Vice President of the Public Health Graduate Student Association and Master’s degree candidate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, stated:
“It is no secret that the costs of healthcare in this country have long been spiraling out of control. Two-thirds of all bankruptcies in the United States are due to medical debt whereas medical bankruptcy is virtually non-existent in the rest of the industrialized world.
Americans spend over twice as much for healthcare. Premiums continue to rise with no tangible return on investment. Often critics of socialized medicine laud our quality of care as a reason to support our fractured system, but what good is this argument?
Universal healthcare would free small business owners from having to provide coverage while simultaneously enhancing the freedom of the worker. Lifespans could be longer, people could be happier and healthier in systems that are simpler and more affordable.”-
Jeremy C. Kourvelas, “Universal Healthcare Provides Americans the Security Need in Uncertain Times | Opinion,” tennessean.com, July 16, 2021
Gabriel Zieff, Zachary Y. Kerr, Justin B. Moore, and Lee Stoner, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University, stated:
“Non-inclusive, inequitable systems limit quality healthcare access to those who can afford it or have employer-sponsored insurance. These policies exacerbate health disparities by failing to prioritize preventive measures at the environmental, policy, and individual level. Low SES segments of the population are particularly vulnerable within a healthcare system that does not prioritize affordable care for all or address important determinants of health. Failing to prioritize comprehensive, affordable health insurance for all members of society and straying further from prevention will harm the health and economy of the U.S. While there are undoubtedly great economic costs associated with universal healthcare in the U.S., we argue that in the long-run, these costs will be worthwhile, and will eventually be offset by a healthier populace whose health is less economically burdensome. Passing of the Obama-era ACA was a positive step forward as evident by the decline in uninsured U.S. citizens (estimated 7–16.4 million) and Medicare’s lower rate of spending following the legislation . The U.S. must resist the current political efforts to dislodge the inclusive tenets of the Affordable Care Act. Again, this is not to suggest that universal healthcare will be a cure-all, as social determinants of health must also be addressed. However, addressing these determinants will take time and universal healthcare for all U.S. citizens is needed now. Only through universal and inclusive healthcare will we be able to pave an economically sustainable path towards true public health.”-
Gabriel Zieff, et al., “Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate,” Medicina (Kaunas) , ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Oct. 30, 2020
Sally C. Pipes, President and Thomas W. Smith fellow in health care policy of the Pacific Research Institute, stated:
“Sen. Bernie Sanders would do well to look at what’s happening across our northern border before he tries to advance legislation that would import Canada’s single-payer health care system, where the government is the only insurer. The new chairman of the influential Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he’s made clear that he’ll use his position to make the case for universal health care.’
The Canadian health care system, which serves just 38 million people, is in crisis. It is no model for the United States (with our 334 million people)….
Such [lomg] waits for care are endemic to government-run healthcare systems. The reason comes down to the law of supply and demand.
In Canada, health care is ‘free’ at the point of service. As a result, demand for care is sky-high.
But the government does not have unlimited resources. It effectively limits the supply of care by capping what it will spend — and directing providers to make do within those constraints. The result is rationing and agonizing waits for routine treatment.”-
Sally C. Pipes, “Sally C. Pipes: Bernie Sanders Wants Universal Health Care. Canada Shows Why That’s a Bad Idea.,” post-gazette.com, Jan. 24, 2023
Janet Trautwein, CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters, stated:
“Americans like their private plans. In a recent study of people with employer-sponsored coverage, more than two-thirds said they were satisfied with their insurance. More than three-quarters felt confident it would protect them during a medical emergency.
Research by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that what support there is for single-payer declines when people consider its attendant consequences like higher taxes and treatment delays….
Further, single-payer will lead to lower quality care. That’s because government payers rely on lower payments to hospitals and doctors to keep costs in check. Look no further than Medicare. The American Hospital Association says that hospitals receive just 87 cents for every dollar they spend treating Medicare beneficiaries.-
That’s obviously not sustainable. If a single-payer system — and its low payment rates — were adopted widely, doctors and hospitals would respond by reducing the supply of care they’re willing to provide. Some providers would decide to leave the sector.”
Janet Trautwein, “Trautwein: Single-Payer Health Care Wrong Prescription for America,” bostonherald.com, Apr. 30, 2022
Justin Haskins, research fellow at The Heartland Institute and the director of Heartland’s Stopping Socialism Project, stated:
“Government-run health care systems are designed to control and manipulate markets, limit choices and redistribute wealth, and like most government-run systems, government health care systems fall short because bureaucrats are terrible at making decisions for other people. If government cannot effectively run the Postal Service, VA health system and Amtrak without losing boatloads of money, why would anyone think they could run America’s vast health care system?
The key to fixing the health care system is to provide greater access to all people while making key structural reforms that utilize the power of market economics and personal choice. Rather than impose top-down mandates that restrict consumer freedom, the American Health Care Plan would empower everyone with more options and encourage health care savings throughout the system.”-
Justin Haskins, “Finally, a Conservative Plan to Fix America’s Broken Health Care System,” thehill.com, July 10, 2021
Robert Moffit, Senior Research Fellow in the Center for Health and Welfare Policy at the Heritage Foundation, stated:
“Self-styled ‘progressives’ in Congress and elsewhere are proposing a government takeover of American health care [Medicare for All]. Such a takeover would destroy Americans’ existing coverage and their right to alternatives outside the government program; and it would erect a system of total political control over virtually every aspect of the financing and delivery of medical care. Nor would it ensure delivery of its central premise and promise: care for every American.
Beyond closing off individuals’ alternatives to coverage outside the government program and restricting their medical care through independent physicians, such a government takeover would also introduce an unprecedented politicization of American health care. Congress, beset by frenzied lobbying by powerful special interest groups, would ultimately determine health care budgets and spending, as well as the rules and regulations that would govern care delivery by doctors, hospitals, and other medical professionals. Patients’ personal choices, as well as the professional independence of their doctors and other medical professionals, would be subordinated to the turmoil of congressional politics and the bureaucratic machinations of distant administrators. The machinery of federal control would dwarf the existing federal bureaucratic apparatus that runs today’s Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare programs.”-
Robert Moffit, “The Truth about Government-Controlled Health Care,” heritage.org, Oct 6, 2020
Tyler Piteo-Tarpy, essayist, stated:
“In a [universal health care] system… the federal government would be in control of the type of care they provide, who they provide it too, the doctors they hire, the amount they pay workers, the taxes they charge to pay for the system, and just about every other aspect of both a government agency and the entire health care industry.
My first issue with this scenario is that the government doesn’t have the resources or, quite frankly, aptitude to manage a system this large and complex…, nor should it.
The American government was initially designed to be a small, supervising entity for protecting human rights and dealing with matters that individual states couldn’t, such as foreign policy….
[W]hy should the government decide for the people what type of health care they get? A universal health care system would remove people’s right to make choices about their own life by saying that the government knows best, and the result would likely be poorer quality healthcare for individuals because it’s designed for the average [person].”-
Tyler Piteo-Tarpy, “Nationalized Health Care Is a Bad Idea, medium.com, Feb. 17, 2020