Low Cost Health Insurance - Universal Healthcare
With the rising costs of medical insurance politicians and consumers alike are once again starting to take a serious look at the possibilities of a universal healthcare system to provide every citizen in the United States access to low-cost health insurance.
The United States is one of the only industrialized nations that does not guarantee access to free or low-cost health insurance or medical care as a right of citizenship. Critics of universal healthcare argue that while that might be true, the US has a better healthcare system than those other countries. However according to statistics gathered by the World Health Organization and other studies in areas such as infant mortality, life expectancy and disease outcomes the United States ranks below Canada and other industrialized nations that provide their citizens low-cost health insurance. Right now the United States actually pays more, almost 40% more, per capita for healthcare than most industrialized nations. Proponents of Universal Healthcare believe that with proper implementation Universal Healthcare will cost less than what is currently being spent. A recent study conducted by the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accounting office found that single payer universal healthcare could save 100 to 200 Billion dollars per year despite covering all the uninsured and improving health care benefits. Further evidence that Universal Healthcare may be a viable approach to lowering the cost of health insurance is that since 1971 when Canada adopted a single payer universal system, healthcare costs as a percentage of GNP have increased at a rate far lower than in the United States over the same period of time, despite the fact that our economy is stronger than Canada's. Advocates of Universal Healthcare also believe that the administrative costs of a single payer universal system can lower the high administrative costs of our current systems by as much as 50%
Universal Healthcare is not as some would believe "socialized medicine" but rather a more cost effective way to deliver low-cost fee for service medical insurance. Dr. John Battista, in his "Case for Universal Healthcare in the United States" as presented to the Connecticut Coalition for Universal Healthcare stated, "Single payer universal health care is not socialized medicine. It is healthcare payment system, not a healthcare delivery system. Healthcare providers would be in fee-for-service practice, and would not be employees of the government, which would be socialized medicine. Single payer health care is not socialized medicine, any more than the public funding of education is socialized education, or the public funding of the defense industry is socialized defense."
A Harris poll conducted in October 2005 found that between 60 and 75% of Americans would be in favor of some kind of Universal Healthcare.
Universal Healthcare may not be the answer to solve all of our current medical insurance woes, but with over 40 million Americans currently without health coverage, and it becoming increasingly difficult for many to find or maintain low-cost medical insurance, it certainly bares taking another look at this program that has been proven successful in other parts of the world.