Regarding the Declaration of Independence under its enumeration of the unalienable rights of its citizens seems to necessarily entail having the adequate medical coverage to the preservation of life, the pursuit of happiness of its citizens which means access of health care to every citizen.
One can also argue that the preamble of the United States Constitution makes it clear that the purpose of said Constitution is to “promote the general welfare” of its citizens (“Healthcare ProCon,” 2016). It then follows for the pro-universal healthcare that health care ought to be a legitimate function of the government to ensure that this welfare promotion of its people is done. On the other hand, a clear distinction is made by the parties against universal health care. They argue that the preamble of the Constitution indeed states that the purpose of the Constitution is to “promote the general welfare” but not “providing it,” (“Healthcare ProCon,” 2016) therefore the government is not held responsible to provide the affordable medical coverage necessary for an individual’s preservation of life and pursuit of happiness. Meanwhile many countries like Canada, France, Germany, and Great Britain that have implemented the universal health care system have as motto “The respect for human dignity demanded that no person should be refrain from seeing medical care due to fear of any perceives real or unreal consequence or financial responsibilities related to doing so” (Rashford, 2007, p.6). What does “Promote the general welfare” means in the context of the US Constitution and Universal Health Care? Universal health care or the right to health care could possibly lower the cost of medical coverage in the United States according to a 2013 study.
The study found that public and private health care spending to be lowered by $592 billion in the year 2014 and in the next decade savings should reach $1.8 trillion. On the other hand, other studies have concluded that the expansion of insurance coverage under Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) will increase the federal deficit by $340-$700 billion in the first 10 years, (Blahous, 2012, p.
5) and could increase the deficit to $1.5 trillion in the second 10 years (Holtz-Eakin & Ramlet, 2010, p.1136). Yet, on average, according to a study conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA), private health insurance plans spend 11.
7% of premiums on administrative costs versus 6.3% spent by public health programs (“American Medical Association” 2014, p.1). For countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom with universal right to health care, the government only spends fractions of the United States budget per capita on its citizens to provide health care to all. In the United States, based on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the present Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) despite the new expenditures would have left close to 30 million people without health coverage.
This can be translated to an increased death with the uninsured. Some advances that such increase is closely related to the wait time that will come with a right to health care system and not the lack of coverage per se. According to a Harvard University study, 13,000 deaths occur yearly in the 55 to 64 year old demographic due solely to lack of health care coverage. The Harvard Researchers have also found that the total yearly death toll among all demographics is 44,789 deaths which is a 40% increased risk of death among the uninsured.
This does not justify the fear of “long wait increases” deduced from the 2012 report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which reports that 9.4% of Medicaid beneficiaries had trouble obtaining necessary care due to long wait times, versus 4.2% of people with private health insurance (“United States Government Accountability Office” 2012).
Even if in the United States the typical wait for specialist and care is way shorter than certain countries with a right to healthcare system or universal health care, it does not excuse nor defend the number of death among the uninsured. A study by the Commonwealth Fund has ranked the United States at the bottom of a list made of the richest nations regarding preventable mortality (Morgan, 2013).In 2014, Jim Yong Kim the President of World Bank gave a speech stating that the right to health care should be provided by all nations solely because it does “help foster economic growth” (Peralta, 2014). A healthy workforce is arguably necessary for a healthy economy, therefore providing access and affordability of health services ought to be a primordial concern of any government. A universal health care system can actually protect adjacent medical bankruptcies. Making health care affordable to everyone is relieving the US households of the very top financial problem they face. In a Kaiser Family Foundation report 58% of the US population stated that they did not seek medical care or delayed such care solely due to cost (Gleason, 2012). In the United States, some chronic conditions are going untreated because of the inaccessibility of health coverage for many.
In 2008, the Annals of Internal Medicine conducted a peer-reviewed study which shows that in the working-age demographic 11.4 million uninsured people are suffering from a chronic conditions and the lack of medical coverage or insurance was linked to inaccessibility to care, being on early disability and of course death (Wilper, Woolhander, Lasser, McCormick, Bor, and Himmelstein, 2008, p.172). One of the concerns of the opposition is the lowered earnings of doctor’s in a right to health care system, they looked at the Medicare system to presume that under a single-payer system as such the same decreased earning will also be occurring. Physicians, under the right to health care system already in place in certain countries, do earn less than their American counterpart yet, the concern of the government should not be to protect the income of their physicians but to provide adequate health care to all. The Business Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare, have found that under that system employer labor costs in reduced between 10-12% (Farley & Farley, 2014, p.
2). Concurrently, there is a worry that a Single payer system or any right to health care system can potentially cause people to abuse and overuse health care resources. This concern is mostly founded on a study that reported that before Medicaid being in effect in 1964 people living under the poverty line seek for help 20 % less often than afterward. One can justly opine that such increase is not linked to overuse and abuse but rather is closely related to a need that was mostly unmet, the need to access adequate health care. The United States is based on principles that value a just society that is fair to everyone. Even during their tumultuous historical periods, the US had managed to provide many free services to its citizens.
Free public education, road maintenance, and law enforcement are only a few of these services that were ultimately meant to be at the service of every citizen. These services are provided to ensure equal opportunity for everyone to participate in the life of the society, meaning to be able to get involved in the political, economic, and social arena on a fair footing. Access to health care promotes a healthy lifestyle and the ultimate preservation of life itself, which is primordial in ensuring that an individual can actually participate fairly in society, therefore sustaining them as wholly engaged citizens.