Health Care: A Compromise Must Be Reached

In my previous two posts, I explored the Liberal and Conservative perspectives on U.S. citizens’ right to health care.  In this post, I will evaluate these viewpoints and express my own opinion on this controversial issue.  Despite major disagreements on the government’s role in providing health care, some Conservatives are starting to agree with Liberal policies.  A compromise must be made between the Liberals’ and Conservatives’ extreme positions. 

 In his Huffington Post article entitled, “Universal Health Care: Socialism or Civilization?”, Steve Nelson claims that, “Someone has to pay. This simple statement is at the heart of the endless politicking over health care reform. It is elephant in the room with whom neither party will dance.”  Nelson argues that Obamacare has devastated America’s health care system and has left 45 million uninsured Americans with limited options when illness strikes.  They may postpone treatment, causing unnecessary pain and likely more expensive care down the road.  They can decide to seek treatment, receiving a devastating bill in return.  Or they can seek emergency care at an even higher price.  Whichever option is picked, Nelson affirms that someone has to pay. 1*  

Nelson argues that among President Obama’s lies about Obamacare, his biggest lie is that there’s such a thing as free lunch.   Nelson claims, “The ACA is so arcane and riddled with loopholes that it will either fail completely or only modestly improve the overall well-being of our citizens.” 1*

Most Conservatives believe that Obamacare does not work, and even Liberals believe it needs to be fixed.  Although subsidies help the elderly and the poor, the viability of Obamacare was based upon the enrollment of large numbers of the young and healthy who would pay the premiums but not use the services.  Many people chose to pay the tax penalties instead of buying insurance.  1*

So, if Obamacare does not work, what’s next— “Trump care”?  It is clear that a compromise must be reached between Liberals’ all-government involvement and Conservative’s no-government policies.  Fortunately, Conservatives are starting to warm up to some Liberal policies, including universal health care coverage.  According to a Forbes article written by Avik Roy, “…the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom.” 2* According to the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, ten nations freer than the United States have achieved universal health coverage.  Roy claims, “What’s striking about the list is that of the eleven countries ahead of the U.S. in economic freedom, ten have achieved universal coverage. Many Americans on both the right and the left subscribe to the myth that the U.S. has a free-market health care system. It doesn’t. U.S. government entities spend more per-capita on health care than all but two other countries in the world.” 2*

English 2010

Forbes Graphic

Roy argues that Conservatives have, “…succumbed to the Liberals’ view of health care.  Philip Klein makes this argument in his new e-book, Overcoming Obamacare, in which he argues that ‘supporting Roy’s proposal would be a huge leap for limited government conservatives’ because they would ‘be expected to embrace the goal of universal coverage.’  Conservatives like Klein have accepted the left’s framing of health care: that the only way to cover more people is to expand the scope and scale of government.” 2*  

Roy claims that Conservatives are starting to accept the government’s role in health care.  The government should help pay for health care for those who truly cannot afford medical treatment.  However, those who can afford to pay for their own health insurance should do so.  2* 

A U.S. News article by Timothy Callaghan states that, “The United States remains one of the only advanced industrialized democracies in the world without universal coverage.  While this in and of itself is not a problem, the United States also spends more on health care as a percentage of GDP than any other advanced country in the world and has worse health outcomes – with lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and higher obesity rates than comparable countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.” 3* I believe the government should have a role in providing health care to the elderly and poor.  Reducing the cost of medical care and drugs would greatly reduce the U.S. government’s and citizens’ economic burden.  Other solutions require comprise on the Liberals’ part.  For example, enacting tort reform legislation would reduce litigation costs and reduce the financial burden on the medical industry. 

Obamacare has made health care services more expensive and less accessible.  The Heritage Foundation found that,” …the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom.”  The ten countries listed in the Forbes graphic above (other than the U.S.) have both universal health coverage and higher economic freedom than the United States.  Conservatives once thought this was impossible.  While we may not be able to find a permanent solution to the problems within our health care system, reaching a compromise between Conservative and Liberal policies would be a great start. 

SOURCES:

1* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-nelson/universal-health-care-soc_b_4349077.html

2* https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2015/01/27/conservative-think-tank-10-countries-with-universal-health-care-are-economically-freer-than-the-u-s/#7041af14137e

3* https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2016-10-26/3-reasons-the-us-doesnt-have-universal-health-coverage

PLEASE ALSO SEE: www.procon.org/healthcare

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