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Universal or Private Healthcare?

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Universal or Private Healthcare?

Georgia Whalley

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America has been receiving a lot of heat lately due to the healthcare system the country currently has. The debate between keeping it the same or changing it to universal health care is not only talked about in politics, but also by the people of America. So, which option is better for the nation?

Firstly, what is universal healthcare? Universal healthcare is a system put in place that provides health care and to all citizens of a particular country. It ensures that every citizen has access to health services without having to worry about financial hardship. Countries with this type of system includes: Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Spain, The United Kingdom and many others.

America currently has 2 forms of government paid health care. Medicare and Medicaid. According to medicareinteractive.org, Medicare is a federal program for people over the age of 65, or people with severe disabilities, and Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides for low-income citizens. According to census.gov, in 2016, about 28.1 million Americans didn’t have health insurance.

Americans have a lot of options for healthcare. A lot of employers will give employees the option to have health care through their jobs. Companies contract with insurance companies to give the employers insurance through that specific insurance company. Americans also have the option to research different insurance companies, so they can pick one on their own.

Countries with Universal healthcare pay taxes that go towards the healthcare system. Because of this tax, visits to doctors and treatments are free to the patient. Prescription medication, depending on the country, can be free or come at a very low cost. The downfall? Very long waiting lists are a frequent problem, especially when trying to see specialists. Although you can pay to have your name moved further up the list, there is still a chance it could take years for you to see anyone, let alone get treatment.  

The fact that it is possible for a county to give all citizens health insurance is amazing. Waiting lists for specialists is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of everyone, not just those who can afford it. That being said, both systems have pros and cons, it just comes down to choosing a system that is expensive with options, or a system that covers everyone with the possibility of having to wait for treatment.

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