“Health care refers to the different types of services provided to individuals, or, more generally the public, for the maintenance of health and well-being” (Kronenfeld). Without healthcare insurance, the medical costs for a serious injury or illness is often more than a person’s income. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Americans spent 3 trillion dollars on healthcare in 2015 and 10.4 percent of Americans are still without healthcare insurance. Healthcare insurance is an issue because people are having to choose between living expenses or healthcare.
Most people use healthcare insurance they get through their employer to cover the cost of healthcare. For those who do not have healthcare insurance with their job, they have to buy insurance from private companies, which can be very expensive. Because of this, millions of people do not have any healthcare insurance. The government provides healthcare to the elderly and poor through Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare and Medicaid are major benefits for elderly people (Kronenfeld). Before Medicare, only half of the people over 65 had health insurance, now over 95% of those have health insurance. Medicare and Medicaid shows that a national healthcare insurance system greatly improves people’s access to healthcare (Sreenivasan). Having universal healthcare would be a great way to manage and improve health in America.
Government provided healthcare is not a new topic. It started in 1798 with merchant marine hospitals and has gradually expanded ever since. “By the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, many groups in the U.S. were pushing for various types of reform of how people received healthcare services and paid for those services, but little reform actually occured” (Kronenfeld). Government provided healthcare was limited to special groups of people and remained that way for more than 150 years.
The government tries to find ways to improve healthcare that people receive. Under the Department of Health and Human Services is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the AHRQ. “AHRQ is the lead federal agency charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans” (Kronenfeld).
Individuals can also have an impact on healthcare services and reform. Private non-profit organizations, such as Families USA, have also tried to improve the quality and access to healthcare. The Villers family invested 40 million dollars of stock from their company because they were concerned about health and health issues. They lobby the government for lower healthcare premiums, extended coverage to the uninsured, to eliminate waste within the healthcare system, and to allow for portability for coverage (Kronenfeld).
Many presidents have tried to pass universal healthcare laws, but none were successful until President Obama. Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Nixon, and Clinton all tried to pass healthcare reform laws. These failed because many people thought it went against capitalism. Doctors wanted to set their own fees and citizens feared it was too much like communism, and they also feared increases to taxes. However, the rising cost of services and premiums are getting to levels beyond what people can afford (Farrell). With the success of Medicare and Medicaid, we know that government sponsored healthcare can work and it should be able to work for all.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, was passed in 2010 and is the most recent attempt by the government to provide universal healthcare. Even though people would still have to pay for healthcare insurance, Obamacare would make medical insurance affordable for 31 million people who could not afford insurance before. Because of recent premium increases have added expense to individuals and the total cost to the government, President Trump is trying to replace Obamacare (Messah).
Obamacare being signed into law
Healthcare in America has become very expensive and the government can help by providing universal healthcare. The programs that the government has provided so far have worked for the most part, but we need to have universal healthcare. People should not have to go in debt to pay for their medical care.