Healthcare is a massive issue in the United States. The United States pays five times more per person on healthcare than Canada does. Other countries don’t have the problems that we have as Americans when they get sick, and a large part of the problem is the system that America has to pay for it’s healthcare. Despite changes to the system during the Obama administration in 2010 with the Affordable Care Act (colloquially known as Obamacare), Americans still pay more than many of our western neighbors.
Medical go-fund-me campaigns are common, with Americans petitioning others to help them pay off life-saving and crucial surgeries and operations that would be much more affordable in other countries that have single-payer healthcare plans.
With a new presidency and a country still struggling through possibly the biggest health crisis in the nation’s history, it’s time for the United States to adopt a single-payer healthcare plan similar to the National Health Service (NHS) of England.
The Brits have a system in which the government, supported by tax revenue from the public, negotiates with the private sector, charities and others to determine pricing. Overall, this has the benefit of lower costs on average for people trying to afford healthcare. The system in England is prioritized around providing care for anyone who needs it, instead of around profit, as it can often be in the American market.
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare is essential to maintaining an overall public wellbeing. For instance, we wouldn’t want our firefighting force privately funded. If your neighbor’s house caught fire and he couldn’t pay for it to be put out, it could destroy his house completely, affect his landlord’s or his own property, and potentially injure or destroy other nearby homes, businesses or people. The same is true with healthcare, although a bit more complicated. It’s important for everyone who needs healthcare to be able to access it so that it doesn’t become an unequal system where those with more resources can get along with good quality medical care while others fail to access even basic healthcare due to their condition.
There are things that we all pay for as part of American society. We use taxes to support military spending in order to defend ourselves and our allies — we use taxes to develop infrastructure for the public good in order for easy and safe transport across this great nation. It’s high time that we start using public funds to support an affordable healthcare system for all.
In our social environment today, with worries of virus transmission and rising costs of medical necessities such as insulin, it is time to switch away from our outdated system and move towards a brighter future with single payer healthcare, in order to make sure that the weakest and most vulnerable in our society are able to access equivalent medical care to the rich and powerful.