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The U.S. Must Adopt Universal Healthcare
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ONC Editorial

Jan 05, 2024

Implementing a universal healthcare system in the U.S. would give Americans a sense of security and reap benefits for the citizens' well-being and national revenue. (The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the individual author, Sayyed H. Razmjo.)

Achieving universal healthcare in the United States will provide Americans with a sense of security in uncertain times. No citizen would be denied medical care in public hospitals under universal healthcare, and every citizen would have access to government-funded insurance. A shift in the healthcare system in the United States necessitates positive transformation, which has the ability to raise revenue while also saving lives.

There would be several benefits for Americans under a universal healthcare system. One benefit is the ability to select one's own doctors which may be both life-altering and life-saving for many. 

In the existing United States healthcare system, if one loses their job, one might also lose their doctor. With universal coverage, one can change jobs and continue seeing one’s doctor without ever experiencing a break in care. 

To add to this, according to a Harvard study, not having healthcare causes around 44,789 deaths every year. Uninsured people have a 40% greater risk of death, with 44,789 fatalities each year. Universal healthcare in the United States has the potential to save the lives of thousands of Americans while also lowering the risks connected with unanticipated or curable illnesses that one may not be able to afford treatment for.

The United States is the only country out of 37 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with no universal healthcare system, according to the Wooster School. Additionally, in the United States, 8.5% of individuals do not have access to health care. 

Nations with universal healthcare spend significantly less money on medical and healthcare bills. The United Kingdom and Canada spend 42% and 47% of what the United States spends on medical and healthcare, respectively. South Korea spends 27% of what the United States does on these same costs. Thus, the United States can benefit financially from universal healthcare because incorporating an individual's right to healthcare will cut its cost in the United States.

The Long-Term Care Act, the Social Support Act and the Youth Act were implemented more recently in the Netherlands, entering into force in its current form in 2015. The Long-Term Care Act is managed at the direction of the federal government by professional long-term care administrators, according to the National Health Care Institute. 

Local governments are in charge of enforcing the Social Support Act and the Youth Act; they give support, assistance and care services or are assisted in this process by a healthcare professional. In the United States, the federal government's primary agency concerned with health care services is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

According to federal requirements, states co-fund and run their CHIP and Medicaid programs. With the establishment of the universal health care system, federal and local governments may take a role in health care allowing for greater flexibility in health-care decision-making.

Guerdyna Gelin was a Social Issues intern for ONC during the Summer 2022 semester. 

Sources:

Kourvelas, Jeremy The C. Tennessean. “Universal Healthcare Provides Americans the Security Need in Uncertain Times | Opinion.” Nashville Tennessean, 16 July 2021, eu.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2021/07/16/universal-healthcare-would-be-simpler-more-affordable-for-americans/7954774002.

Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport. “The Dutch Health Care System.” About Us | National Health Care Institute, 8 July 2020, english.zorginstituutnederland.nl/about-us/healthcare-in-the-netherlands.

“Should America Have Universal Health Care?” Wooster School, www.woosterschool.org/page.cfm?p=1202&newsid=3551&ncat=5. 

“United States.” Commonwealth Fund, www.commonwealthfund.org/international-health-policy-center/countries/united-states#:%7E:text=The%20U.S.%20Department%20of%20Health,programs%20according%20to%20federal%20regulations. 

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