Universal Healthcare means that health care will be made available for all people without having to worry about financial issues and paying for health services. These services include disease prevention, health promotion, treatment, palliative care, and rehabilitation. Provision of universal healthcare requires an effective and efficient system of healthcare that provides the population with the availability of quality health services, health professionals, health technologies, and medicine. It also needs an efficient funding system that will protect individuals from impoverishment and financial struggles related to the cost of healthcare. Access to adequate and quality healthcare ensures a healthy population, while protection from financial health risks protects people from being immersed in to poverty. These discussed reasons above are proof enough that universal health care is an essential component for poverty reduction, sustainable development, and reduction of social inequalities.
Research shows that America can afford universal healthcare and that it can help the country sustain development and have a healthier population. However, the question remains why America still lacks universal healthcare…well the reason for this is because US politics are determined and dominated by the wealthy (Laham 54). When the rich perceive that a particular political or social issue pushes their agenda further, they will probably support it, but when they think that an idea suppresses their interests, they tend to oppose the plan. This situation is what is happening in America when it comes to the provision of universal healthcare.
Additionally, through the single-payer system, the stakeholders can directly control cost growth over time, and this is not a possibility with privatized systems. The stakeholders not just in healthcare but also in the government realize that if universal healthcare is implemented in America, they will not be able to control cost growth directly and therefore they will have their power stripped away from them (Reagan 22). By controlling cost growth, the wealthy can also control how funds are used and also how they gain through it. Therefore, they oppose universal healthcare because of their vested interests.
Furthermore, many of the people who are against universal healthcare are conservatives who are primarily Republicans. A significant portion of the Republican Party Teabag wing desire a small government but once they get elected, they adhere to whatever those who helped find them want. Therefore, in instances where corporate profits are bound to be made such as agriculture, military spending, transportation, energy, and pro-Walstreet legislation, Republican will always support the move (Laham 56). However, when there are no big donors or profits to be made in sectors such as healthcare, education, public assistance, social security, and environment, these individuals will often oppose the legislation. So universal healthcare is among the things that do not bring huge profits to the conservatives, and therefore they fight it significantly. It is not about spending less; it is all about spending selfishly and serving their interests at the expense of the poor people in need of healthcare.
Another reason why America still does not have universal health care is because of the unique American political culture. America started as a nation filled with immigrants who had a great sense of entrepreneurship and no feudal structure to foster an invariable social structure. Because of this culture, Americans tend to be more individualistic. Americans especially conservatives strongly believe in classical liberalism and the belief that that the government’s role in society should be limited. However, the entire idea on universal healthcare coverage goes against this ideology of a limited government and individualism, and it is, therefore, no wonder that it has never been implemented in an influential country like America even when other powerful states have implemented it (Reagan 24). The American public also supports the individualism approach because research found that many Americans believe that healthcare is not the government’s responsibility but rather an individual responsibility. A significant percentage of Americans think that the government should only equip healthcare systems with adequate equipment but that when it comes to access to healthcare, individuals should cater to it themselves.
Although the political culture in America helps to explain why universal healthcare is an issue of debate in America, it is not the only reason that denies America the chance to have comprehensive coverage. Another significant factor that affects universal health coverage in America is the role the American worker in influencing the legislation. As it is today, insurance cover for the American employee is covered by the employer. This mandate means that the employees do not have to pay for their health insurance and access to medical care (Putsch and Pololi 47). However, if universal healthcare coverage is implemented, it would mean that the employees would have to pay a small amount for their healthcare needs. American employees are not willing to do this, and so they play a significant role in ensuring that the legislation is not enacted. Similarly, employees recognize the fact that if the government were to pass the bill on universal coverage, it would mean that it would have to increase taxes paid by workers to make the endeavor successful. It is the fear for increased taxes that makes American employees oppose the universal coverage legislation.
Lastly, another reason why America still lags in enacting the universal healthcare coverage and the reason why parliamentary candidates try to avoid this topic entirely is that the political institutions in America make it hard for programs that provide citizens with entitlement to be enacted. Politicians feel that when citizens have a right to something, it brings about a sense of entitlement which in turn puts pressure on the government to pass legislation (Putsch and Pololi 53). Politicians in the government feel that if they enact the universal healthcare coverage, American and human rights organizations will equally put pressure on them to deliver the services. It is true that governments often do not like taking responsibilities because of selfish interests and also because of a lack of a sense of duty (Reagan 25). Government officials want to deliver less to the people while gaining more for themselves. American has not yet enacted universal healthcare coverage because political institutions in the country are biased in terms of the structure against such a comprehensive reform.
In conclusion, America remains among the developed nations that lack a comprehensive healthcare insurance structure. There is however little prospect for the government to establish one any time soon because of the reasons discussed above. America’s culture is deeply rooted in individualism that favors personal gains over the needs of the people. Internal and external lobbyists are also actively spending loads of money to make sure that insurance companies sustain their positions in the healthcare system and political institutions are designed to limit significant policy changes from taking place. As long as these factors continue to exist, America should not expect universal healthcare coverage soon regardless of the change in government.
Laham, Nicholas. Why the United States lacks a national health insurance program. Greenwood Press, 2014. 51-56
Putsch, Robert W., and Linda Pololi. “Distributive justice in American healthcare: institutions, power, and the equitable care of patients.” The American journal of managed care 10 (2014): SP45-53.
Reagan, Michael D. The accidental system: health care policy in America. Routledge, 2018. 16-26